Bruins, Blackhawks surge into matchup
Two red-hot teams will face off when the Boston Bruins host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
Boston (31-17-8) is riding a seven-game point streak and will look to extend its best stretch of the season. The Bruins are 4-0-3 during the streak, including a 2-1 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
Brad Marchand scored the game-winning goal when his shot deflected off an opponent's skate and into the net.
"We got a lucky bounce, and we'll take it," Marchand told reporters after the game.
As for Chicago (23-24-9), none of the bounces seemed to go its way during a miserable first half of the season that included the firing of longtime coach Joel Quenneville. But fortunes have changed for the Blackhawks, who have won a season-high seven games in a row under new coach Jeremy Colliton.
The Blackhawks cruised to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon to climb closer to one of the eight playoff spots in the Western Conference -- a possibility that seemed highly unlikely just a few weeks ago.
"Let's keep this thing rolling," veteran goaltender Cam Ward said to the Chicago Tribune.
Are Ward and others keeping an eye on the Blackhawks' postseason chances with 26 games to go?
"I check the standings, yes," Ward said. "We know where we're at and what we need to do. With that being said, you control what you can control, and that's how you perform and how you prepare, and the guys are doing the right job."
Patrick Kane has led the charge on offense, as he has throughout his career. The 30-year-old has at least one point in 14 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NHL. He has 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists) in 55 games.
David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists) in 56 games. Marchand is right behind him with 65 points (21 goals, 44 assists) in 55 contests.
Tuukka Rask likely will get the call in net for Boston. He is 17-8-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average, to go along with a .922 save percentage in 30 games (29 starts).
For Chicago, rookie Collin Delia could earn the start one day after he agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season. The deal averages $1 million per season and rewards the 24-year-old who has posted a 6-2-3 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 12 games (11 starts).
The Blackhawks also could opt to stick with the veteran Ward, who is 11-8-4 with a 3.67 GAA and .895 save percentage. Both goaltenders have seen plenty of action with No. 1 starter Corey Crawford out with a concussion since Dec. 16. Crawford returned to practice Saturday.
This is the second and final meeting of the regular season between the clubs. Boston posted a 4-2 win over Chicago during the outdoor NHL Winter Classic, which took place Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Sean Kuraly and Marchand scored for the Bruins in that matchup. Brendan Perlini and Dominik Kahun each tallied a goal for the Blackhawks.
--Field Level MediaHome