PREVIEW: Blackhawks Open Three-Game Trip Against Capitals
Chicago, Washington meet Thursday night for the first of two meetings in a two-week spanby Carter Baum@CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com
TIME: 6 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH | RADIO: WGN 720 AM | STREAM: MyTeamsApp (In Market) & ESPN+ (Out of Market)
The Blackhawks hit the road once again on Thursday night, opening up a three-game swing through the Metropolitan Division against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena.
- CHI: 7-12-2, 16 PTS
- WSH: 14-4-5, 33 PTS
Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk have you covered on NBC Sports Chicago with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30, while John Wiedeman and Nick Olczyk have the radio broadcast of tonight's game on WGN Radio.
HOW TO WATCH
The Blackhawks and Capitals meet for the first time in the regular season since Oct. 20, 2019 in Chicago. Washington won that evening 5-3 at the United Center with Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik scoring for the home team.
In Chicago's 8-5 victory over Washington on Jan. 20, 2019, Jonathan Toews (3G, 2A) and Kane (2G, 3A) each matched career highs with five points apiece. It was Toews' sixth career hat trick and third five-point outing. Dylan Strome equaled a career high of three points (1G, 2A) against the Capitals in that contest. He has points in two of three career games against Washington.
Chicago has shown a strong improvement in the defensive end under interim head coach Derek King, allowing the league's fewest goals against in 5-on-5 play (11) since he took over on Nov. 7. In the past five periods of action on Sunday against the Sharks and Friday against the Blues, the Blackhawks have held their opponent to single-digit shots on goal in four of them. The 22 shots allowed against San Jose were the second fewest in a game this season for Chicago, second only to King's first game on Nov. 7 against Nashville (21).
Washington, on the other hand, leads the league in goals scored (82) and 5-on-5 goals (61) in 23 games played and figures to be the biggest test yet of the improved defensive structure.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 of 21 shots against the Sharks on Sunday and has now allowed two goals or fewer in five of his last six appearances. It was the first of his five games allowing two or fewer that the netminder didn't record a victory in as the Blackhawks were blanked on the night offensively.
Fleury has started 10 of the last 13 games for Chicago and leads the team in wins (5), goals-against average (2.91) and save percentage (.914) on the season.
The future Hall of Famer is three wins away from becoming just the third goalie all-time to reach 500 career wins.