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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche will complete their home-and-home set of games at the United Center Saturday night.
Both teams practiced Saturday morning. Joel Quenneville has elected to go with the same lineup that beat the Avalanche 3-1 on Thursday.
|Joel Quenneville's team has, for the most part, played penalty-free hockey this season.|
A key to that win, as well as their 4-1-1 start, has been the Hawks' ability to minimize damage via the opponent’s power play. The Hawks have gone four consecutive games without giving up a power-play goal. But as good as the PK has been, staying out of the penalty box has been just as instrumental. The Hawks have taken just 10 minor penalties over those four games.
“If you stay out of the box I think your penalty killing gets better,” Joel Quenneville explained Saturday after practice. “If you kill one or two a game it keeps it in good order. If you start taking silly penalties..those are the ones you have a hard time killing.”
The Hawks rank third in total times shorthanded (17) this season and third in penalty killing percentage (94.1 percent). They’ve scored more (2) shorthanded goals than goals (1) given up on the power play.
“Somebody asked Pete Rose, ‘you need 70 hits to get to 3000, how many at-bats will it take?’” Hawks defenseman Steve Montador said. “He said 70. That’s the attitude you have to take, you’re going to kill it every time.”
Corey Crawford and Semyon Varlamov are expected in goal for the rematch.
The Hawks will unveil statutes outside the United Center of Hawks’ greats Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in a ceremony before the game.
“It’s a great honor,” Joel Quenneville said. “Those guys should be very proud being out there every time somebody comes into the building they get a chance to visit with Stan and Bobby and visit their memories of what they meant at whatever stage they [the fans] were in their life to come see the Blackhawks play. They are great ambassadors for our team and now they go down in history here at the building.”
Patrick Kane was asked several times on Saturday morning if he could envision statues of himself and his buddy, Jonathan Toews, someday.
“I’m just looking to get back on the score sheet after two games,” Kane joked. “I’m not really worried about a statues right now. … [Hull and Mikita are] awesome. They’re two people you can call your friends now.”
• Marian Hossa practiced Saturday morning after taking Friday off. He is scheduled to play Saturday night. He missed a game recently with an upper-body injury.
• Kane, Hossa, and Dan Carcillo have been giving each nicknames for their line. Carcillo has been calling Kane, ‘Biebs’ for teen idol singer Justin Bieber.
“That’s fine,” Kane said. “I like it actually. A lot of girls like him [Bieber].”