Final OT

Series (Game 2 of 2)

Chicago leads 2-0

Game 1: Friday, December 2nd
Game 2: Thursday, December 8th

Blackhawks 3

(17-8-4, 38 pts)

Islanders 2

(9-11-6, 24 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 8, 2011

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 OT T
CHI 1 1 0 13
NYI 0 1 1 02

P. Sharp (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

T. Hamonic (Islanders - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Hossa (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Blackhawks-Islanders Preview


Led by red-hot captain Jonathan Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks are atop the Central Division with one of the league's best records and most potent offenses.

About the only problem facing the team is the play of No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford, who will be watching from the bench Thursday night when Chicago meets the surging New York Islanders for the second time in a week.

Crawford established himself as the Blackhawks' top goaltender last season, going 33-18-6 with a 2.30 goals-against average while outperforming veteran Marty Turco.

Hoping to join the NHL's elite in 2011-12, Crawford has instead taken a step back with a 3.00 GAA that ranks 35th in the league. He was pulled for the second time in three appearances Monday after allowing three goals on 16 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss to Phoenix.

Coach Joel Quenneville also lifted Crawford from a 4-1 loss to the Coyotes on Nov. 29.

Ray Emery, meanwhile, has played well when called upon lately. He has surrendered two goals in his last three games for a 1.02 GAA.

"He's coming off two real solid games for us, he deserves a chance to get back in there," Quenneville told the team's official website.

It probably also doesn't hurt that Emery is 5-0-1 with a 1.65 GAA in six starts against the Islanders (9-11-5).

Even with some shaky play from Crawford, the Blackhawks (16-8-4) are 4-1-1 in their last six games overall, winning three in a row on the road.

Toews continued his stellar stretch with two goals and an assist but failed to convert in the shootout Monday after Chicago rallied from a three-goal deficit.

"We played better late in the game, but you get to that point where it's 3-3, we're getting chances late in the third and OT, we want to find a way to get that extra point," Toews said.

It was the third consecutive multipoint game for Toews, who leads the Blackhawks with 17 goals and 32 points. He has 12 goals and 11 assists over the last 13 games.

The Islanders are enjoying their best stretch of the season, going 4-0-1 in their last five after winning once in the previous nine games.

John Tavares had a goal and an assist in support of Al Montoya's 23 saves to help New York to a 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

"It's been a great week, but we've still got a lot of work to do," said Tavares, who ended a 13-game goal drought. "We have to raise our game."

Matt Moulson -- the NHL's first star of last week -- added his team-leading 14th goal and eighth in five games. He had a goal with an assist in a 5-4 shootout loss at Chicago on Friday.

The Islanders have scored at least four goals in three straight games -- their longest such streak since a four-game stretch March 13-19, 2010.

With Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov nursing injuries, Montoya is the likely starter for New York. He is 3-2-0 with a 1.21 GAA in five home games.

Chicago has won the past two meetings after an 0-5-1 skid against the Islanders. The Blackhawks have lost three straight at Nassau Coliseum since a 3-2 victory Dec. 10, 2002.