John Jaeckel: Ducks At Hawks GameDay Preview

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Anaheim Ducks (7-2-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-1)

7:30 Central/5:30 Pacific

United Center/Chicago

CSN-CH, PRIME

THE BUZZ

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.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Anaheim

Smith-Pelly Getzlaf Perry

Cogliano Kesler Silfverberg

Beleskey Karlsson Rakell

Etem Thompson Jackman

Beauchemin Lindholm

Fowler Stoner

Fistric Vatanen

Andersen

Chicago

Bickell Toews Hossa

Saad Shaw Kane

Sharp Richards Versteeg

Morin Kruger Smith

Keith Seabrook

Oduya Hjalmarsson

Van Riemsdyk Rundblad

Raanta

All for now,

JJ

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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