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Wednesday Night Rivalry

5 Reasons to watch Flyers-Blackhawks

Each team seeking bounce-back effort in Wednesday Night Rivalry game

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

The Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks each will try to rebound after disappointing losses when they play at United Center in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game this week (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).

The Flyers flew to Chicago after becoming the first team to lose to the Arizona Coyotes this season; they are 6-5-1 after a 4-3 overtime loss on Monday. Chicago finished an 0-3-0 week by losing 6-3 at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The defeat dropped the Blackhawks to 5-5-2, sixth in the Central Division.

Here are 5 reasons to tune in:

 

Best players on Blackhawks must be better

Chicago's core has been largely the same for several seasons, including forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook and goaltender Corey Crawford. However, the Blackhawks' best players haven't been at their best in the past few games; Toews didn't have a shot attempt in the loss to Colorado, and Keith's giveaway was a turning point in a 2-1 home loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday. Expect coach Joel Quenneville to demand more from his top players going forward.

Video: MIN@CHI: Toews tallies unusual goal on the power play

 

Sean Couturier

The Flyers have had an up-and-down start, but one player definitely on the upswing is Couturier, on his way to the best offensive season of his career. The 24-year-old center has nine goals after scoring twice against Arizona and has eight points (five goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak - pretty impressive for a player who never has scored more than 15 goals in a full NHL season. Couturier has been known as a good checking center, but has responded when asked to provide more offense this season after being placed on the top line. With 15 points (and a plus-10 rating) in 12 games, he's done everything coach Dave Hakstol could have asked.

Video: ARI@PHI: Couturier buries Giroux's feed for PPG

 

Patrick Kane

Flyers fans probably still have nightmares of Kane scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 in the 2010 Final, which ended a 49-year championship drought for the Blackhawks. Kane has done pretty well against the Flyers in the regular season as well, with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 11 games. He has averaged more than a point a game through the past five seasons, has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 12 games this season and is a threat to score anytime he's on the ice.

 

Ivan Provorov

Philadelphia's second-year defenseman was instrumental in helping the Flyers get a point against Arizona, assisting on all three goals during a third-period comeback and setting up the tying goal by making a terrific play with his glove to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Provorov played a season-high 28:06 against the Coyotes, and was credited with seven shots on goal and three blocked shots. The 20-year-old has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 12 games and looks like he's headed for stardom.

 

'Eddie O' is back

Longtime NBC hockey analyst Eddie Olczyk will be back in the booth. Olczyk is in the midst of chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer and returned to call his first game of the season two weeks ago when the Blackhawks visited the St. Louis Blues. Olczyk, who was diagnosed with cancer in August, said before the Blackhawks-Blues telecast that he felt working would help him get through the treatment and that he planned to do games when he felt well enough to work.

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