Back-to-back games: the Chicago Blackhawks are used to them, usually do pretty well in the Part 2 portion of them. So with little time for them to rest, let’s waste no time in getting to the Five Things to watch when they host the Ottawa Senators here tonight.
1. Khabibulin’s rebound? Nikolai Khabibulin has some great memories of Tampa Bay. Last Thursday wasn’t one of them. Although he wasn’t alone on the tough outing, the veteran goaltender nevertheless gave up six goals in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Lightning. Coach Joel Quenneville wants Khabibulin to be a vital part of this team. He’ll need a rebound game tonight to work toward that.
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2. Second-line chemistry. It was a pretty good debut for the line of Brandon Saad, Brandon Pirri and Patrick Kane on Monday in Minnesota. So how about a second act? We all know that every Blackhawks line lasts as long as they do well as a trio and the Blackhawks do well as a team. Quenneville said the true measuring stick of this line will be how they perform in their own zone, defending. Still, if they keep adding offense like last night, there won’t be many complaints. Can they make life miserable for Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson?
3. Speaking of Anderson, the Park Ridge native gets to start in his hometown (area) tonight. That will be a pretty special moment for him. The Blackhawks won’t want him to get too comfortable and confident, though. The Blackhawks will want to put up an attack like they did against the Wild last night.
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4. I picked Patrick Sharp to snap his goal-scoring drought against the Wild, and he did. I’ve got a feeling Marian Hossa is going to have a good night against his former team.
5. Sheldon Brookbank will get another game in tonight, as well he should. The defenseman has been playing well as of late, and came through with the game-winning goal on Monday night. No, he’s not in there for the latter. But with Michal Rozsival having some tough showings out of the gate, perhaps Brookbank gets more playing time.