Philadelphia at Chicago
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Ray Emery played a huge role in the Chicago Blackhawks' run to a Stanley Cup championship last season and his return to the Windy City will probably cause more than a few "what if" moments among the home fans. Emery will be in net for the Philadelphia Flyers when they conclude a six-game road trip against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Emery's appearance comes one day after Chicago learned that starting netminder Corey Crawford will be sidelined two-to-three weeks with a lower-body injury.
Crawford was injured in the first period of Sunday's game against Florida but the Blackhawks have compensated for his absence by ratcheting up their offense in back-to-back 6-2 victories over the Panthers and Dallas. Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad each scored twice in Tuesday's drubbing of the Stars as Chicago reached six goals for the fifth time this season. The Blackhawks had dropped three in a row (0-2-1) before the consecutive lopsided wins boosted their record to a league-best 22-6-5.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports, TSN2
ABOUT THE FLYERS (13-14-3): Emery was spectacular for Chicago last season, posting a 17-1-0 record with a goals-against average of .194 - nearly a goal less than his previous season with the Blackhawks. "Winning a championship in Chicago was a great experience," Emery said. "It was a unique experience to win a Cup. And a really good team. That novelty kind of wears off after playing for a few teams.” Emery has settled down after allowing four goals in his first three appearances with Philadelphia, but will be looking to halt a two-start skid.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (22-6-5): Rookie Antti Raanta improved to 4-0-1 lifetime with Tuesday's victory over Dallas and will be in line to carry a heavy workload with Crawford sidelined and untested rookie Kent Simpson serving as his backup. Patrick Kane had a 12-game point streak snapped toward the end of November but is on another tear with a six-game streak that includes back-to-back three-point games in his last two. Kane has 10 goals to go with 19 assists over his last 19 games to move 10 points clear of captain Jonathan Toews and Sharp for the team scoring lead.
1. Chicago is 22-4-2 in the 28 games not started by Crawford over the past two seasons.
2. The Flyers have played better when short-handed, killing off 26-of-28 penalties in the past six games.
3. The Blackhawks have scored at least five goals 13 times this campaign - one more than they managed in 48 games last season.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Flyers 2
Stats and Records