National Hockey League
Preview
Chicago at Columbus
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 20, 2014
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio


Two of the league's hottest clubs will square off when the resurgent Columbus Blue Jackets host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. Columbus has turned its season around after closing November with six consecutive defeats, winning its first seven in December before dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to Washington on Thursday. It marked the fifth straight contest and sixth time in seven games that the Blue Jackets went past regulation.

The Blackhawks had an eight-game winning streak halted at the New York Islanders last Saturday but rebounded with back-to-back wins to improve to 13-2-0 over the past 15 contests. Much of the recent success has come without starting netminder Corey Crawford, who has been sidelined for eight games due to a lower-body injury but will return this weekend against either Columbus or Toronto. Chicago has owned the Blue Jackets, winning 13 in a row overall and seven straight at Columbus.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (22-9-1): Think Chicago and offense comes to mind with such highly skilled players as Patrick Kane, captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, but the team is also becoming a juggernaut against opposing power plays. The Blackhawks feature the league's top-ranked penalty kill with a success rate of 91.2 percent, permitting only eight goals in 91 chances for the season. "The guys who are on it have great pride in doing a good job," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "Power plays for and against can change the momentum in a game.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (13-15-3): Nick Foligno continued his torrid stretch with a pair of goals versus Washington to give him five tallies in the past four games and boost his team-high total to 16. Foligno is closing in on his career-high total of 18, set last season in 70 games with Columbus, and it comes at an opportune time with free agency looming. “He’s been skating and working,” coach Todd Richards said. "He’s big and strong enough to fend guys off, and he’s got good puck skills where he is able to make plays and beat you.”

OVERTIME

1. Despite Chicago's dominance in the series, five of the past six meetings have been decided by one goal.

2. Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky is 1-2-1 with 10 goals allowed in four starts versus Chicago.

3. The Blackhawks have killed off 31-of-33 short-handed situations over the past 13 games.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Chicago 22-9-1-0 W2 11-3-1-0 11-6-0-0 1-0-0-0 21-9-1-0 7-3-0-0
Columbus 13-15-2-1 L1 6-8-1-1 7-7-1-0 0-1-0-0 13-14-2-1 5-4-2-0
Last Meeting
Chicago Columbus
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/4/14 CHI 4 CLB 3 38 24 1-2 27 34 1-3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Chicago D. Keith 3
Columbus A. Anisimov 1
Goals Player  
Chicago M. Hossa 1
Columbus A. Anisimov 1
Assists Player  
Chicago D. Keith 3
Columbus C. Atkinson 1
Saves Player  
Chicago A. Raanta 24
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 34
Season
Total Points Player  
Chicago P. Kane 35
Columbus N. Foligno 37
Goals Player  
Chicago P. Kane 17
Columbus N. Foligno 19
Assists Player  
Chicago P. Kane 18
Columbus R. Johansen 19
Saves Player  
Chicago C. Crawford 509
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 790
Quickchart Matchup
Chicago Off vs  Columbus Def
3 GF
3.19 GA
35 Shots
33.6 Shots
22 PP
24 PK
Columbus Off vs  Chicago Def
2.35 GF
2 GA
27.9 Shots
28.9 Shots
27 PP
8 PK