(WSCR) - In the playoffs two years ago it appeared as if the Blackhawks and the Flames were beginning to form an intense rivalry. However, since last year’s big Blackhawks comeback in the United Center, games between these two teams have lacked the intensity of the that playoff series. Tonight the two teams look to start up that rivalry again.
With their “Circus Trip” already off to a good start, the Chicago Blackhawks could be in for more success on their next stop.
Coming off their most decisive victory of the season, the Blackhawks look to continue their dominance over the struggling Calgary Flames on Friday night.
Mired in a 1-4-1 stretch, Chicago (10-9-2) beat Anaheim 3-2 in overtime at home Sunday. With the circus at the United Center, the Blackhawks won 5-0 at Edmonton on Wednesday to open a six-game, 11-day trip.
“We feel we’re getting there as a team, (this) was big step,” Patrick Kane told the Blackhawks’ official website.
Jonathan Toews scored the first three goals for his second regular-season hat trick and Patrick Sharp added his first goal in nine games plus an assist against the Oilers.
“It’s a game we can really build off,” Toews said.
Chicago hasn’t won three straight since a season-best four-game streak Oct. 15-20.
After scoring at least 24 goals each of his first three seasons, Toews has eight. He scored twice in eight games prior to Wednesday.
“Hopefully I can keep it rolling,” Toews said. “I just need to stay confident around the net and know that if I keep shooting, it is going to go in.”
Despite losing twice at Calgary during the first round of the 2009 playoffs, Chicago has outscored the Flames 39-15 during an eight-game regular-season winning streak. The Blackhawks have won seven straight non-playoff contests at Calgary, outscoring the Flames 26-10.
That doesn’t bode well for the Flames (7-10-0), who fell 3-1 to Phoenix on Wednesday for their fourth straight home loss.
Marty Turco could be in net after stopping 18 shots Wednesday for his first shutout with Chicago. Turco is 15-8-2 with two ties and a 1.81 goals-against average against the Flames.
Calgary has lost three in a row and seven of eight. Five of those defeats have come by one goal.
“We’ve got to turn that frustration into desperation and motivation,” forward Alex Tanguay told the Flames’ official website. “You win one, you might win the next five. We’re just looking to win that one right now.”
That likely won’t be easy without forward Olli Jokinen, who was suspended for three games without pay by the NHL for cross-checking Phoenix’s Wojtek Wolski in the head.
“I disagree with the league’s decision to suspend me for three games,” said Jokinen, who has two goals and six assists. “My intent was not to injure and circumstances that resulted in my stick going higher then expected. While I am upset with the ruling, I will abide by it.”
Babchuk had three goals and five assists for the Hurricanes while Kostopoulos had one with three assists.
Former Blackhawk Rene Bourque scored his team-leading ninth goal Wednesday while Jarome Iginla was held without a point after recording just his third multi-point game in a 4-3 loss at San Jose on Saturday.
A 30-goal scorer each of the last nine seasons, Iginla has three through 17 games. He has no goals and four assists in his last four regular-season home games versus Chicago.
Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff has a 3.23 GAA while losing six of seven overall, and a 4.80 GAA during an eight-game skid versus the Blackhawks.
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