The Chicago Blackhawks have won five consecutive games and played themselves right back into the middle of the playoff race, in large part due to the play of Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
Toews and Hossa will try lead the Blackhawks to a sixth consecutive victory and sixth in a row at home over another West foe, the Calgary Flames, on Wednesday night.
Since a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Feb. 7, Chicago (34-23-6) has won five in a row and earned at least one point in nine of 10 games (7-1-2). The three most recent victories have come against playoff contenders Nashville, Phoenix and Minnesota.
“The last three games were all huge games,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s a good stretch for us. We’ve got the next biggest game of the year coming up against Calgary.”
If Toews can continue his stellar play, it might help Quenneville’s team earn another two points. The Blackhawks captain has 23 points in his last 14 games, including 11 during a six-game streak.
“He’s been great over this stretch of games,” Quenneville said. “You can look back over a month or so that he’s been a force. He’s been dominating in all aspects and areas of the game and seems to have the puck a lot.”
After scoring twice against Phoenix on Sunday, he had a goal and two assists the next evening during a 4-2 victory at Minnesota. One of those passes set up a key short-handed goal by Hossa, his fourth score in as many games.
Hossa has two goals in 18 career matchups with Calgary (33-23-9), while Toews has fared better with one goal and four assists in his last five meetings. He had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory at the United Center on Dec. 5, and Dave Bolland scored twice.
The Blackhawks might get some help in this game with the expected debut of defenseman Chris Campoli, who was acquired from Ottawa before Monday’s trading deadline. Campoli’s presence helps overcome the loss of Jordan Hendry to season-ending knee surgery.
Even with Campoli’s help, earning two points against Calgary might prove difficult. The Flames are 15-3-6 in their last 24 games and blanked St. Louis in each game of a home-and-home sweep.
In a 6-0 rout Tuesday, Miikka Kiprusoff made 25 saves for his third shutout in five starts, and Jarome Iginla had two goals and an assist. Iginla’s linemates Alex Tanguay contributed a goal and two assists and Brendan Morrison added three assists, all during a five-goal third period.
The victory pushed Calgary one point ahead of Chicago in a hotly contested West race.
“He was great both games,” said Iginla of Kiprusoff, who has made 17 consecutive starts.
Iginla has four goals and an assist while helping his team win two of three matchups this season against the Blackhawks, and Kiprusoff has posted a 2.00 GAA. The Flames’ first victory in Chicago since March 16, 2008, would help them win their first season series since 2002-03.
Calgary has been outscored 25-11 in its last five games in Chicago. Including the postseason, the Flames are 0-7-1 in their past eight trips there.
Tanguay, who has three assists against the Blackhawks this season, has two goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
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