Chicago Blackhawks vs. Calgary Flames Pick & Prediction JANUARY 7th 2024

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Here come the Chicago Blackhawks — wobbly and wounded and without their top scorer, but home nonetheless.

After enduring a harrowing road trip that saw them lose all five games in addition to multiple players, the Blackhawks are set to return to United Center against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

Rookie forward Connor Bedard headlines the list of inactives. Bedard left midway through the first period of Friday’s 4-2 loss at New Jersey after taking a hit from Devils defenseman Brendan Smith. Bedard, the top overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft who leads Chicago with 33 points, skated off while holding his face.

On Saturday, the Blackhawks announced Bedard had suffered a fractured jaw and placed him on injured reserve.

“It’s definitely hard to wrap our heads around,” Chicago’s Ryan Donato said. “It’s so fresh still for us to realize what’s going on, but we hope the best for him and hopefully we can keep the guys positive.”

Teammate Nick Foligno also was placed on injured reserve with a fractured left finger sustained during a second-period fight with Smith.

Taylor Raddysh (groin), Tyler Johnson (right foot), and Anthony Beauvillier (left wrist) left games with injuries earlier in the trip.

“I think that’s the NHL. It’s the next-man-up mentality,” Chicago defenseman Jarred Tinordi said. “You look around the league, we’re not the only team going through it right now. If you look at our roster, it looks like we’re going through it maybe a little bit worse than others, but I think we have to step up, myself included.”

Calgary is aiming to secure a winning record on its four-game trip. The Flames fell to the host Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Saturday afternoon after winning at Minnesota and Nashville by a combined count of 9-4.

The Flames got goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar and a 39-save effort from Jakob Markstrom on Saturday. Travis Konecny’s short-handed goal in the third period stood up as the game-winner.

“The first period was OK, but I thought the second and third, we got outworked,” Calgary coach Ryan Huska said. “They were the better team. … The first period, I thought we got off to a good start, and then the second and third period, Jakob was the reason why this game was close.”

The Flames have won six of their past nine games after a slow start. Weegar’s goal against the Flyers was his ninth, already a career high with more than half the season to play.

Calgary hopes to revamp its attack against Chicago after sputtering in Philadelphia.

“You’ve got to leave it behind,” Huska said. “I mean, we have another game (Sunday). We want to come home with a really solid road record on this trip, so it’s an important game for us. We have to turn our attention to Chicago.”

Sunday marks the first of three meetings between the Blackhawks and Flames this season. Calgary is set to host Chicago on Jan. 27 before the teams meet again at United Center on March 26.

–Field Level Media

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