|Fledgling Blackhawks, Senators prepare to lock horns|
The Chicago Blackhawks will start a three-game road trip when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Chicago is aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time since the calendar flipped to 2020. The Blackhawks are coming off a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, which wrapped up a 2-2 homestand.
Rookie forward Dominik Kubalik scored in all four games, increasing his total to 16 goals on the season.
"If you look at his goals, you'd be surprised how many he scores from just being at the net, just standing there, being in front," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said to reporters. "You can get a rebound or it goes off you. That's one thing that's really helped him this season."
Both Chicago and Ottawa sit near the bottom of their conference standings and face a tough challenge to reach the postseason.
Ottawa carries a seven-game winless drought into the contest. The Senators are 0-4-3 in that time and have lost each of their last two games in extra time -- a 3-2 shootout loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night and a 2-1 overtime setback against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
The Senators' last win came before Christmas, when they knocked off the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Dec. 23.
Forward Brady Tkachuk said he and his teammates are trying to stay positive.
"You can take the good out of the games that you know you played well in," Tkachuk said in comments published by the Ottawa Sun. "And some of that, we can learn from. We're right there. We've had a bunch of overtime games. It's just a matter of time (before) things are going to turn around."
Chicago is led in scoring by Patrick Kane, who ranks among the top 10 in the NHL with 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) through 46 games. Kane is closing in on a career milestone with 995 career points.
Ottawa's top scorer is Anthony Duclair, who has 32 points (21 goals, 11 assists) in 44 contests. Duclair played briefly with the Blackhawks during the 2017-18 campaign under former head coach Joel Quenneville before moving on to the Columbus Blue Jackets and then to the Senators.
In net, the Blackhawks have split time between two veterans. Robin Lehner is 13-7-4 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage this season, and Corey Crawford is 7-13-2 with a 3.09 GAA and .906 save percentage.
Ottawa's healthy options include Craig Anderson (6-11-1, 3.27 GAA, .897 save percentage) and Marcus Hogberg (1-2-4, 3.02 GAA, .901 save percentage). The Senators' other netminder, Anders Nilsson, has been placed on injured reserve as he recovers from the effects of a concussion.
Ottawa is 11-7-3 at home this season. Chicago is 9-9-3 on the road.
This is the first of two games between the teams this season. They will meet again in Chicago on March 13.
--Field Level Media