December has been a good month for the Chicago Blackhawks. They've won four of five games in the month— with the one loss coming in overtime— and are fresh off of a rousing 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Their schedule this week features three games, and with one very notable exception, it isn't too difficult.
Wed., Dec. 14: at Minnesota Wild (6:30 p.m. CT, Versus)
This may be the marquee match up in the entire NHL this week. The Blackhawks' 40 points on the season is bested only by the Wild, who lead the league with 43. The Wild aren't an offensive juggernaut, but their 2.06 goals against average is third in the NHL, so the Blackhawks goal scorers have a tough task ahead of them. A decisive victory by either team could set the tone for the race for the No. 1 seed.
Fri., Dec. 16: vs. Anaheim Ducks (7:30 p.m. CT, CSN)
The Blackhawks schedule gets a bit easier after their tilt vs. the Wild. The Ducks are the second worst team in the NHL, having totaled only 21 points on the season, and they've already dropped one game to the Blackhawks this season. Veteran Teemu Selanne, who is in the top 20 in the NHL in points, has been a bright spot for the Anaheim this year, but otherwise it's been a rough season for the Ducks, who've been outscored by 26 goals so far this year.
Sun. Dec. 18: vs. Calgary Flames (6:00 p.m. CT, WGN)
The Blackhawks last saw the middling Flames in the middle of a six game road trip at the end of Novemeber, and it did not go well. Chicago played uninspired in a 5-2 loss, which they would then follow up with a 9-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. It would be hard to call Sunday's match up a revenge game, but the Blackhawks are talented enough to flip the score this time around.