NEW YORK (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers both lost key members of their offense during October, but they are receiving contributions elsewhere.
The Blackhawks visit the Rangers on Monday, looking for their fourth win in six games on the road.
While Chicago (7-5-1) leads the Central Division, it has been off to a slow start as the team adjusts to several roster changes after winning the Stanley Cup last season.
The Blackhawks are also without top forward Marian Hossa, who had seven goals and four assists in 11 games, for at least two weeks due to an upper-body injury. They played without Dave Bolland (upper-body injury) in its last game and called up Ryan Potulny from their AHL affiliate.
While Hossa is sidelined, Chicago will look for someone else to step up. Patrick Sharp has been key with 10 goals and five assists and while Patrick Kane has found the back of the net only three times, he’s contributed in other ways with eight assists, including two in a 3-1 win at Minnesota on Saturday.
One of them came on Troy Brouwer’s goal in the second period – his first of the season. Brouwer, who had 22 goals last season, was moved up the first line to join Kane and Jonathan Toews after an early hit.
“He’s got to play with that bite in his game,” coach Joel Quenneville said, later adding: “Coming into the season we envisioned him being one of those guys.”
Marty Turco had 25 saves, bouncing back after being pulled in a 7-4 loss to Edmonton on Friday in which he allowed four goals on 12 first-period shots. He could be in net again Monday when Chicago looks to improve on its 3-1-1 record on the road.
While the Blackhawks are playing well on the road, the Rangers (5-4-1) have struggled at home, going 1-3-1.
New York is looking to build off a 2-0 win at Toronto on Saturday, which came after back-to-back home defeats. Henrik Lundqvist recorded 36 saves in his 25th career shutout while Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan each scored.
“It all starts with Hank from the goal on out,” Boyle told the Rangers’ official website. “If we keep pucks out of our net we are going to be successful.”
The Rangers needed a good effort from Lundqvist as they were lackluster on offense after playing the night before. The team tied a season low with 24 shots, including six in the first period.
Callahan extended his goal-scoring streak to four games and his points streak to six by converting a penalty shot in the second period.
Since losing last season’s leading scorer Marian Gaborik to a separated left shoulder in the third game of the season, Callahan has stepped up and been outstanding. Callahan has four goals and seven assists in 10 games this season after totaling 19 goals and 18 assists in 2009-10.
On Monday, he’ll try for his first point against Chicago after being held off the scoresheet in three previous games.
The Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 2-1 in overtime at the United Center last December. They have lost their last two at Madison Square Garden, including the most recent contest in 2008.
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