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Blackhawks Vs. Islanders Preview: Hawks Look To Stop Surging Islanders On The Road

After a 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks (14-8-3) look to bounce back against the New York Islanders (7-11-4) on Friday night at the United Center.

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Sure the New York Islanders suffered a 5-4 road loss in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday December 2nd, but don't let that game fool you. The Islanders are really heating up lately after a disappointing start to the season, and have ripped off a 4-0-1 record in their last five games and that overtime loss to the Hawks is the only bump in the road. 

The Hawks have tapered off in their last 10 games, going 5-4-1, and Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire as of late. SB Nation's Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey, makes some comparisons to Jimmy Howard and tries to stay positive about the situation:

..there is precedent to patience. Howard got the Wings to a Game 7 in round 2 with an aging roster and injuries pretty much everywhere. I would suggest that if Crow can rebound to even the level that Howard was at last season, the Hawks could go much farther, (especially if the roster is augmented in a way or two).

It's just a question of if we all, and Stan Bowman, can ride out this rough patch long enough to see the clouds part on the other side. If they indeed will.

The Hawks have of course moved The Hawks Patrick Kane back wing to share a line with Jonathan Toews again, and Marcus Kruger is now the second-line center. So far so good for the realigned offense, but if Crawford continues to struggle there will eventually be problems in consistency for the team.

As for the Islanders, they are getting things rolling now. Lighthouse Hockey explains:

The Islanders were dominant against a back-to-back road opponent, and they needed to be. From the Moulson assist to the Bailey-Ullström connection, the Isles outworked and outsmarted the Bolts on multiple occasions in each period...    

...No Michael Grabner, no Andrew MacDonald, no Nino Niederreiter (though to be fair, he's arguably less ready than his replacements), and Mike Mottau and Dylan Reese instead of Mark Eaton ... but still another win -- their best win. Well done. Enjoy.    

Here are some quick facts to help you find the game on Thursday night:

GAME TIME: Thursday, December 8th, 6:00 p.m. CST at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY

TV: CSN

RADIO: WGN 720AM

Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Blackhawks be sure to visit Second City Hockey. For more Islanders hockey news and information, be sure to read Lighthouse Hockey.