Skidding Blackhawks take on inconsistent Flyers
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CHICAGO -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville apparently saw enough. With Chicago in the midst of a three-game losing streak, he commanded a longer-than-usual practice on Tuesday and cursed at his players afterward because he thought their effort was lacking.
The Blackhawks will try to bounce back Wednesday when they face off against the Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center.
Chicago (5-5-2) started the season on a high note but has been outscored 12-6 during the past week while dropping games against the Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks are 1-5-0 in their past six contests.
"I didn't like the last part of our practice," Quenneville said to the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. "The intensity and the pace went down to a tough-to-watch (level). It was just, let's go."
Philadelphia (6-5-1) also is searching for more consistency after an up-and-down start to the season. The Flyers are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the previously winless Arizona Coyotes, and they are 1-2-1 in their past four.
Injuries to defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald have placed the Flyers in a difficult spot. Four of the team's seven active blue-liners are rookies.
"I've played with a few of them as a partner (in the AHL), so the familiarity certainly makes it easier," said defenseman Will O'Neill, who joined the team on Tuesday.
Philadelphia has been forced to turn to its depth on offense, as well. Rookie forward Nolan Patrick has a head injury, and he did not make the road trip.
Chicago likely will turn to goaltender Corey Crawford for his 11th start of the season. The 32-year-old is 5-4-0 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in his first 10 contests.
The Flyers have had Crawford's number. In four career games against Philadelphia, Crawford is 1-3-0 with a 3.51 GAA and an uncharacteristically low .855 save percentage.
Veteran goaltender Brian Elliott is expected to start for Philadelphia. Also 32 years old, Elliott has posted a 5-2-1 record with a 3.23 GAA and a .884 save percentage in his first season with the Flyers.
Elliott is familiar with the Blackhawks from his tenure with the St. Louis Blues. In 18 career games against Chicago, he is 7-8-1 with a 2.50 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
Patrick Kane leads Chicago with 13 career points (four goals, nine assists) in 11 games against Philadelphia. Artem Anisimov scored two goals in two games against the Flyers last season.
One of the Flyers' hottest players is Sean Couturier, who scored two goals in the most recent game against the Coyotes. He leads the team with nine goals this season and is on pace to top his season high of 15, which he set during the 2014-15 campaign with Philadelphia.
Blackhawks players hope to post a win against the Flyers -- and put punishing practices behind them.
"Those are never fun," Chicago defenseman Cody Franson said to the Sun-Times. "But you know what, it's great. Losing is not acceptable here.
"It's amazing to me how calm and level-headed our room has stayed through adversity like this. This is kind of the first time I've experienced something like that. Usually, there's a ton of panic."
Updated November 1, 2017