BY: DAVID KOLB
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (19-8-4) @ NEW YORK ISLANDERS (11-12-5)
Live game coverage begins at 6:30 PM on MSG+
BACK ON TRACK
Tonight the Islanders host the Chicago Blackhawks at Barclays Center for the first of two games the clubs will play this season. The Hawks come to Brooklyn following their 2-1 win over the Rangers Tuesday, while the Isles look to bounce back after a 4-2 loss to the Capitals Tuesday.
The Islanders must find a way to play a full 60 minutes tonight against Chicago, as they were tied after two periods the previous two games, yet lost. Deadlocked at 2-2 on Tuesday against the Caps, the Isles gave up two tallies to lose 4-2, and against the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday, they allowed four unanswered goals in the third period to lose, 6-2.
INJURIES HASN’T STOPPED THEM
Despite key injuries, the Blackhawks have still played at a high level this season, as they begin the night on top of the Western Conference. Minus captain Jonathan Toews, Chicago turned in a 5-2-2 record, however, the Hawks’ captain returned to the lineup Tuesday, skating 18:09 in a win over the Rangers.
Cal Clutterbuck will skate in his 600th NHL regular season game tonight. Clutterbuck has produced 178 points in 599 games (253 with the Islanders) and takes the ice with three assists in his past five games including a helper Tuesday against Washington.
DARLING OF A BACKUP
Chicago goalie Scott Darling has stepped in and played well, making many key saves in place of the injured Corey Crawford (appendectomy). In his last outing Tuesday at The Garden, Darling turned aside 33 shots earning his third win in his past four starts and now sits at 7-2-2 with a 2.02 goals against average.