The Chicago Blackhawks will face their biggest test of the season so far as they go up against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center tonight.
The Ducks are six points ahead of the Blackhawks atop the Western conference standings and have won 18 of their last 19 games, there is no hotter team in the whole of the league.
Chicago are having a good season themselves, but losses in four of their last five games have resulted in the 'hawks slipping behind Anaheim.
The Ducks go into the game as the hot favorite, not only are they the in-form side, but they have also won five straight games against tonights hosts. Anaheim even triumphed at the United Center earlier this season, winning through via a shootout.
Anaheim's talent is not lost on Blackhawks' defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson: "Anaheim is the team to beat right now. They have been dominating so far this season. They got a lot of offensive skill. We got to play a real [good] defensive game if we're going to beat them."
Ducks center Andrew Cogliano praised his team's offensive capabilities: "We have a lot of depth guys, and guys who come in the lineup, it seems like we have 14 guys who switch every night who can provide offense. It's pretty impressive we're getting a lot of depth scoring."
Anaheim will miss Jonas Hiller through illness, backup goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body), defensemen Luca Sbisa (hand) and Sheldon Souray (wrist). The Blackhawks have a clean bill of health with the exception of Nikolai Khabibulin who has undergone shoulder surgery and will be out for the season.