The Blackhawks hope to end their two-game skid Thursday night and sweep the season series against the Sabres at the United Center. Chicago has won seven consecutive home games against Buffalo dating back to Jan. 14, 2009. The Sabres haven’t won at the United Center since Jan. 10, 2007.
The Blackhawks earned only two of the possible six points on their California road trip, losing on back-to-back outings to the Kings and the Sharks during the weekend. Four teams and nine points now separate the Blackhawks from the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Dylan Strome scored his 17th goal of the season in San Jose, and now sits with 40 points in 42 games since being traded to Chicago. Thursday marks his 22nd birthday.
Patrick Kane continued his success against his hometown team of Buffalo on Feb. 1 with a four-point night (two goals, two assists) in Chicago’s 7-3 win. He now has 21 points in 16 games against the Sabres.
Blackhawks backup goaltender Cam Ward has been sidelined from all hockey activity for the next 7–10 days after suffering a cheap nhl jerseys
right knee injury during Sunday’s game in San Jose. Collin Delia was recalled on an “emergency basis” from the AHL on Tuesday, and will take Ward’s spot for at least three games.
Since returning from a concussion that sidelined him two months, Corey Crawford has gone 1-1 and allowed nine goals on 57 shots. Thursday will be Crawford’s first start at the United Center since his concussion Dec. 16 against the Sharks. Delia’s last NHL outing was Feb. 22 in a 5-3 home loss to the Avalanche. The rookie holds a 6-4-3 record in 15 games.
Center David Kampf will return to the lineup after missing a month with a broken bone in his right foot. He has three goals and 13 assists in 50 games. Dylan Sikura will be a healthy scratch.
The Sabres have cooled off since their strong start to the season: in their last 10 games, they are 3-7-1, allowing 41 goals and scoring just 28. Buffalo captain Jack Eichel leads the Sabres with 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists), including six goals in his last five games. Jeff Skinner is second at 58 points (36 goals, 22 assists).
Buffalo’s goalie tandem of Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark are a bright spot for the team, averaging a .909 save percentage between the two of them. Hutton, a former Blackhawk, is expected to start Thursday; he is 16-18-4 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.