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Ducks @ Blackhawks PREVIEW: Second Wind in Windy City

The Ducks are looking for consecutive wins for the first time in 11 games.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Game #67

Anaheim Ducks @ Chicago Blackhawks

Thursday, March 8th, 2016, 5:30 PM PST

United Center


Radio: AM 830,

Your Enemy: Second City Hockey

Per the usual, the Chicago Blackhawks are picking up steam at the right time. They are now neck-in-neck with the Minnesota Wild for the top spot in the Central Division. The inconsistent Anaheim Ducks have a lot on their hands against this red-hot team.

The Blackhawks will be seeking a franchise record of eight consecutive wins against the Ducks. They are on fire, averaging 4.3 goals over their last seven games.

Who specifically is hot? Patrick Kane has scored 9 goals in his last 5 games, including two hat tricks. Brent Seabrook has collected 5 assists in the last 5 games while Duncan Keith is currently running with a 4-game point streak.

With Darling out for about 3-weeks, Corey Crawford has been the go-to guy in net. And he’s been pretty darn good. He has stopped 30 or more shots on goal in seven of his last eight appearances, including 32 saves in his last appearance in Nashville earning him his fourth consecutive victory.

Another point to take note of...Johnny Oduya will actually be making his first appearance after he was reacquired (he had previously been healing up from an ankle injury). Also returning to the line-up against the Ducks will be Niklas Hjalmarsson who had been sidelined for the past 4 games with an upper-body injury. What is significant about this return is that the pairing of these two on the back end is maybe exactly what Chicago needs to make a deep playoff run.

The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a high of a comeback win over the Nashville Predators. It’s been a couple of games since we’ve seen John Gibson in net, but Jonathan Bernier has been more than doing his part in his stead. That being said, the Ducks are going to have make consistency a goal from here on out. Tonight’s match-up will mark the 31 day countdown until the end of the regular season. With the race tightening up in the Pacific Division, it really is now or never.