|Kane looks to keep streak alive as Blackhawks host Lightning|
Patrick Kane will look to build upon his 10-game point streak when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
The eight-time All-Star has shined since he entered the league in 2007, and his latest accomplishment shows that he is as effective as ever at age 31. He has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) during his 10-game streak, with six goals coming on even strength and two on the power play.
"I think it's been coming on for a while, as far back as a couple weeks," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton recently told reporters.
"Getting a little more comfortable with the plays he was making, starting to get his chances even if they weren't going in. He's the type of player, when he does get it going, he feeds off the energy, whether that's within a game or just within a week. When he gets hot, he can go on a huge streak."
Kane's high-quality play has boosted Chicago, which has won four of its past five games after a turbulent start to the season.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is looking to bounce back from two straight losses to the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues. The Lightning won the previous three games and hope to start a new winning streak as they wrap up a quick two-game road trip.
Tampa Bay expects to welcome back one of its top players, Nikita Kucherov, who left Tuesday's game after absorbing a crushing hit from the Blues' Brayden Schenn. Kucherov stayed down on the ice after the hit while his teammates rallied to defend him.
In 18 games this season, Kucherov has six goals and 12 assists. He tallied career highs last season with 41 goals and 128 points in 82 games.
"When you see one of your best players go down, it's tough to swallow," Lightning forward Patrick Maroon said to reporters. "(Teammate Erik) Cernak did a heck of a job getting in there on Schenn and standing up for a teammate. That's what it's all about. I think we're doing a good job this year standing up for each other, making sure we're not getting pushed around."
The Blackhawks will start either Robin Lehner (5-4-2, 2.52 goals-against average) or Corey Crawford (4-4-2, 3.01 GAA) in net. Lehner has a .934 save percentage this season, while Crawford has improved his save percentage to .914 after a string of good performances.
The Lightning likely will turn to No. 1 netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy (7-6-0, 2.95 GAA), who has started 13 of the team's first 18 games. Vasilevskiy's backup is Curtis McElhinney (2-1-2, 3.76 GAA). Both players have comparable save percentages, with Vasilevskiy at .904 and McElhinney at .906.
Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw did not practice Wednesday because of a right hip injury, but he is expected to be available Thursday.
Chicago is 6-4-2 at home. Tampa Bay is 5-5-1 on the road.
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Blackhawks and Lightning. The teams will face off in Tampa Bay on Feb. 27.
--Field Level Media