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Hawks set to resume season on Long Island

by Brian Compton
BLACKHAWKS (41-15-5) at ISLANDERS (25-29-8)

Last 10
: Chicago 6-3-1; New York 2-8-0.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They last met on March 15, 2009, when the Islanders earned a 4-2 victory at the United Center behind two goals from Mark Streit. Peter Mannino made 40 saves in his first NHL start.

Big Story: It's the first game for both teams after the Olympic break, and perhaps the last for players on both sides. Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton enters unrestricted free agency this summer and has been rumored in numerous deals, while the Blackhawks could be looking for an upgrade in goal.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews and Pat Kane are teammates again. After spending the past two weeks as opponents at the Olympic Games, two of the game's best forwards reunite in Chicago, where they hope to deliver the Windy City its first Stanley Cup championship since 1961.

It would cap off a tremendous season for Toews, who beat Kane and the United States for the gold medal on Sunday in Vancouver in a 3-2 overtime victory. Toews, one of the tournament's top forwards, opened the scoring.

"It's unbelievable," he told "It's really hard to grasp how big it really is. You are in this one building and you can't even understand how many people watched this and how it affects people. I remember in '02 when I was a kid, I was 12 or 13 years old, and those memories stray with me until now. I told Jarome (Iginla) on the ice right after, 'It's just like you, Joe (Sakic) and Stevie (Yzerman) in '02,' and he started laughing. It's a dream come true."

Islanders: New York remains in playoff contention, as it enters Tuesday's action six points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. But a loss to the Blackhawks could officially make the Isles sellers heading into Wednesday's 3 p.m. (ET) trade deadline.

"We're in a situation where we don't have an easy schedule," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "We're going to have to get some wins early to even have a consideration for us to play in the playoffs."

Who's Hot: Antti Niemi will receive his fifth straight start between the pipes for the Blackhawks. He is 17-4-1 this season with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. … Isles forward Blake Comeau had four points in the last two games before the Olympic break.

Injury Report: Blackhawks forward Adam Burish is close to returning from a torn ACL suffered last September, but he won't play on Tuesday night. Ben Eager (lower body), John Madden (leg) and Brent Sopel (lower body) are all doubtful. … The hits just keep on coming for Rick DiPietro. The Isles' goaltender is experiencing swelling in his left knee and is out indefinitely. Josh Bailey (upper body) and Tim Jackman (broken orbital bone) and Jack Hillen (jaw) are all expected to return on Tuesday. Radek Martinek (torn ACL) is done for the season.

Stat Pack: Eleven of Chicago's final 21 games will take place on the road. … Isles rookie center John Tavares has two goals in his last 31 games.

Puck Drop: "Playing for Switzerland was great, but I'm happy to be coming back to see the guys and getting back at it. We have 20 games left. We're not quite in the playoffs, but we want to get there. We're refreshed and everybody's ready to go." -- Isles defenseman Mark Streit

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