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Saturday, October 31

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Blackhawks Fri Dec 19 2008

Working On A Win Streak in Western Canada

Roadtrips to Western Canada have been notoriously unkind to the Blackhawks in recent years, but following a 9-2 shellacking of the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday, the Hawks are looking to reverse their fortunes in back-to-back games against Calgary and Vancouver tonight and tomorrow.

The win over the Oilers gave the Hawks a five-game win streak, their longest since the 2001-2002 season, which was also the last time a Blackhawks team made the playoffs. The team was working on all cylinders, going 4-for-5 on the powerplay and shutting down the Edmonton offense early on. Troy Brouwer lead the Hawks with two goals and defenseman James Wisniewski picked up three assists in his first game of the season following knee surgery. Chicago has had a few dominating performances at home this year, but started the season struggling away from the United Center. The victory pushed their road record over .500 to 6-5-3, a mark the team is looking to build upon.

Tonight the Flames will be looking for revenge from a 6-1 loss at the United Center Nov. 9, but the Hawks have played well in Calgary, having won their last three games there. The Hawks also defeated Vancouver 4-2 Oct. 19 as well, and the Canucks are shorthanded with star goalie Roberto Luongo injured. With the team surging on their recent streak, a pair of victories this weekend would give the Hawks even more momentum heading into the Christmas break, before finishing the year with a home date against the Flyers and trips to Minnesota and Detroit.

With the nine-goal deluge Tuesday, the Hawks are now the top-scoring team in the league with 3.66 per game. Not to be outdone, the defense and goaltending tandem of Nicolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet is giving up only 2.55 goals a game, good for seventh in the league. Chicago's special teams also rank in the top 10, a sharp contrast to year's past, particularly the power play unit. What all these stats mean is despite being the league's youngest team, the Blackhawks are coming together and playing great hockey in all corners of the rink, putting them in a tie as the third-best team in the Western Conference. If the team can reel off more games like Tuesdays and more winning streaks, not only would the playoffs be a given, but a deep run is possible.

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