One of the things that has been toughest for the Blackhawks this year is winning with any sort of consistency. They'll just have started a winning streak, then lose two or three in a row. They just can't get out of the rut they've started for themselves, and break away from the pack of teams slogging around the middle of the NHL standings.
Right now the Blackhawks have 47 points, which is in a four-way tie for seventh place in the Western Conference. One other team has 46, and two in the East have 48. If that's not the definition of "middling", I don't know what is.
It is in that context that the Hawks take on the New York Islanders tonight. The Islanders aren't the worst team in the NHL... but they're second-worst, with 32 points and a 13-20-6 record. Nevertheless, it's the Islanders who are hot (7-2-1 in their last 10) and the Blackhawks who are not (a plodding-along 6-4 in their last 10).
So it'd be nice for the Hawks to win this game tonight and start, you know, a winning streak. Everyone's healthy and it's time for some consistency.
Tonight's game begins at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised on WGN (Chicago only).