Blackhawks look to keep Canadiens off the scoreboard
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will try to notch their third consecutive shutout when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night at the United Center.
Chicago (7-5-2) is coming off back-to-back shutout victories against the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild. Goaltender Corey Crawford has been in net for both of those performances, but coach Joel Quenneville might give him a night off on the second game of a back-to-back set.
If Crawford rests, backup Anton Forsberg will get the call for his fourth start of the season. Forsberg is 0-1-2 with a 4.26 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in his first season with the Blackhawks.
Crawford's statistics are far better, which might tempt Quenneville to ride his hot hand despite a heavy workload to start the season. He is 7-4-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .945 save percentage in 12 games. The 32-year-old grew up in Montreal and has dominated his hometown club during his career, posting an 8-0-2 record with a 1.49 GAA and .954 save percentage in 10 meetings.
"He's just finding the puck, battling like crazy on every shot, and the second shot, as well," Quenneville said. "He's been great. It's been fun watching him.
Montreal (5-8-1) has not enjoyed the same level of success in net as No. 1 goaltender Carey Price has endured a miserable first month. Price was held out Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets because of what the club termed a minor lower-body injury.
His status is uncertain for Sunday.
"I don't know when he got hurt," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said to the Montreal Gazette. "When I got here (Friday morning), they told me he had a lower-body injury."
The Canadiens turned to their offense instead to produce a 5-4 overtime win against the Jets. Veteran Max Pacioretty scored the game-winning goal on a power play, and former Chicago right winger Andrew Shaw scored twice on the power play as Montreal rallied from a 4-2 deficit.
"We had the momentum going our way," Shaw said. "Being down 4-2 in the third and capitalizing and coming back just shows the character of this team."
Goaltender Al Montoya started in place of Price and improved his record to 2-1-0 with a 3.77 GAA and .863 save percentage this season. The Chicago native is 1-2-2 with a 2.84 GAA and .908 save percentage in six career games against the Blackhawks.
If Montoya rests and Price remains sidelined, 23-year-old Charlie Lindgren could make his first start of the season. Lindgren is 3-0-0 with a 1.65 GAA and .943 save percentage in three career games against the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings over the previous two seasons.
Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov will carry a four-game scoring streak into Sunday night's matchup. Meanwhile, rookie left winger Alex DeBrincat has scored a goal in back-to-back games.
Chicago is led in scoring by right winger Patrick Kane, who has five goals and nine assists in 14 games. Jonathan Toews and Ryan Hartman are next on the list with four goals and six assists apiece.
Montreal's top scorer is right winger Brendan Gallagher, who has six goals and five assists for 11 points in 14 games. Defenseman Shea Weber has three goals and eight assists for 11 points, while center Jonathan Drouin has two goals and eight assists for 10 points.
Shaw has three goals and four assists after Saturday's stellar game against the Jets. The undersized right winger likely will receive another loud ovation from Blackhawks fans, who saw him win two Stanley Cup rings in Chicago.
Updated November 5, 2017