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Surging Blackhawks set to host Flames

by John Kreiser

FLAMES (5-6-2) at BLACKHAWKS (9-2-3)


Last 10: Calgary 4-6-0; Chicago 7-1-2

Season series: This is the first of three meetings this season between the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks, and the only one scheduled for United Center. Chicago swept all three games last season.

Big story: Don’t look now, but the defending Stanley Cup champions are starting to find their game. The Blackhawks try for their fourth victory in as many games this week when the struggling Flames come to a building where they've dropped 10 in a row.

Team Scope:

Flames: Joey MacDonald's time with the Flames may be over. Calgary put the 33-year-old goaltender on waivers Saturday, less than 24 hours after he and the Flames lost 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings at Scotiabank Saddledome. Rookie Reto Berra will join the Flames and team with Karri Ramo as Calgary begins a four-game road trip.

Coach Bob Hartley has been pleased with Berra's play with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, and what he likes goes beyond numbers.

“His size, the way that he moves, I think that he has unbelievable quick legs,” Hartley said. “Again, it’s going to be a new challenge for him. He came from Switzerland to play in the National Hockey League, so we’ll get him some starts in the very near future.”

MacDonald was 3-3-1 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in seven starts with the Flames this season.

Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews didn't have a point in his first regular-season game in his hometown. But the Blackhawks made sure he'd have fond memories by scoring five unanswered goals to beat the Winnipeg Jets, 5-1.

Toews was scoreless, but five other Blackhawks scored as Chicago dominated the last 40 minutes.

"Certainly we like some production across the board," coach Joel Quenneville said, "and we've been getting it the [past] three games. [It's] more representative of how we were last year and the offense that we do have on our team."

Who's hot: Jiri Hudler had two assists in the loss to the Red Wings and leads Calgary with 15 points in 13 games. … Despite not hitting the score sheet in Winnipeg, Toews has eight points in his past five games.

Injury report: Calgary is without two key veterans, defenseman Mark Giordano (broken ankle) and forward Lee Stempniak (foot). Defenseman Christopher Breen is dealing with an abdominal injury. … Chicago is without forward Michal Handzus (upper body) and defenseman Mike Kostka (lower body).

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