After falling to the Oilers on Sunday, the Blackhawks have hit the road and will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. Catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet, beginning at 6:00.
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The Blackhawks (21-2-3) and Blue Jackets (10-12-5) may be at opposite ends of the Western Conference standings, but these two teams have already played three close games this season.
Chicago's come out on top in each of those matchups, but tonight the Blackhawks -- who dropped their last two matchups in regulation -- will have to put up a fight to see the same result. After sinking quickly in the standings, the Blue Jackets have come back to win five of their last six matchups since facing the Hawks back on March 1.
Columbus went from ranking dead last in the league to No. 13 in the Western Conference above both Calgary and Colorado. While that's still not the most impressive jump, the Blue Jackets have found some momentum. Since their past matchups against Chicago this year have all been decided by one goal, it's clear the Blackhawks will have to come into tonight's game with speed and aggression.
The biggest challenge for Chicago could come in front of Columbus' net. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has posted a 5-0-1 record and .970 save percentage throughout March. In fact, opponents have been held to an 0.83 goal-against average since the start of the month, and those numbers recently earned Bobrovsky the NHL's No.1 'Star of the Week'.
But Viktor Stalberg has been hot against Columbus, posting nine goals and three assists in the Blackhawks' last nine games against the Blue Jackets.
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Since the Blackhawks' 6-5 loss on Sunday, the team has gotten some much-needed rest before heading to Columbus to kick off their four-game road trip. Chicago played 26 games in six weeks starting Jan. 19, and fatigue finally began to catch up with the team. But after taking Monday and Tuesday off, the Blackhawks will have hopefully re-energized enough to play with the strength and energy they displayed throughout their 24-game point streak this year.
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