Blackhawks Host Flames in Final Regular Season Home Game
Calgary, losers in two straight including a 4-1 loss last night to the St. Louis Blues, will look to finish their season on a high note against the Chicago team that they nearly defeated in their first matchup back in early February. In that game, Chicago scored with less than 3 seconds remaining to force overtime and eventually won in a shootout to keep their consecutive points streak alive.
In the second matchup between the two, Chicago throttled the Flames by outshooting them 35-16 and shutting them out 2-0 for the first of goaltender Ray Emery's three shutouts of the season.
Emery (17-1-0), who was also in net for the first meeting between these two, will not be available tonight or tomorrow, however, as he sustained what is being billed as a minor lower body injury in the first period of Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford (18-5-5) will take over between the pipes tonight and is 2-2-0 against Calgary in his career.
Chicago faces the difficult task of resting key players who have battled injuries this season, such as Patrick Sharp, who returned from an apparent shoulder injury in Wednesday's game to score an empty net goal, and maintaining their momentum entering the playoffs.
The Flames, on the other hand, will likely ice a number of rookies and inexperienced players in preparation for next year. Calgary traded veterans Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester to playoff bound teams less than a month ago and have likely seen the last of goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff, who many are predicting will retire after his contract is up this season. Suffice it to say, next year's Calgary Flames will have a much different look than in years past.