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Anaheim Ducks (7-2-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-1)
7:30 Central/5:30 Pacific
Tonight the Hawks face Western Conference and Pacific Division leading Anaheim, a good team last year that got better in the offseason, in part by beating out the Hawks in the bidding for center Ryan Kesler.
The Kesler story is a significant subtext to this game. After the Hawks (as many sources told me) came up short in their trade offer for Kesler, they defaulted to free agent Brad Richards.
Richards has been somewhat disappointing thus far for Chicago (3 assists in 8 games, 44.9% on faceoffs), an early indication that there is, as many Ranger fans would attest, very little tread left on his tire. Kesler, on the other hand, has been strong for Anaheim (7 points in 9 games, 58% in the dot). It’s early yet. But these types of tradeoffs can be very meaningful over the course of a season and the playoffs.
Hawk coach Joel Quenneville has spread out his firepower a bit, moving Patrick Sharp down to Richards’ third line, which has shown some good results early on. But overall the Hawks simply need to score more goals, evidenced by just 6 tallies over their last three games, where they went 1-2.
Smith-Pelly Getzlaf Perry
Cogliano Kesler Silfverberg
Beleskey Karlsson Rakell
Etem Thompson Jackman
Bickell Toews Hossa
Saad Shaw Kane
Sharp Richards Versteeg
Morin Kruger Smith
Van Riemsdyk Rundblad
All for now,
This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.