Blackhawks-Canadiens Preview

The Associated Press

A lackluster first period and another subpar offensive effort contributed to the extension of Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford's losing streak.

Crawford will try to use a return to his hometown as motivation to avoid the longest skid of his career Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Crawford has gone 0-3-2 with a 3.05 goals-against average in his last six appearances, matching a five-game skid Jan. 21-Feb. 10, 2012. He's 0-1-2 with a 2.60 GAA in three games since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out nearly a month.

Crawford gave up two goals in the first 10 minutes to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, and after his team rallied in the second period, allowed the tiebreaking score with 5:57 remaining in a 3-2 loss. The defeat snapped a 10-game point streak for the Blackhawks, whose lackluster production on offense finally caught up to them.

Chicago (29-8-9) has scored two or fewer goals in four of the last five games and in all three of Crawford's starts since his return. The Blackhawks averaged a league-best 3.73 goals in their first 41 contests.

Patrick Kane has been particularly cold with one assist in the past five games. He totaled 42 points in his prior 27 games and had at least one point in 26 of those.

"We've got too many guys right now that aren't contributing to that level we saw most of the season," coach Joel Quenneville said.

Chicago will try to get back on track against a team that's struggled in its own end at times lately. Montreal's 106 goals allowed are among the fewest in the league, but the Canadiens have given up 21 during a 2-2-2 stretch.

After topping Florida 2-1 on Monday, the Canadiens (25-15-5) fell behind 3-0 in the first 29 minutes at Philadelphia two days later and lost 3-1 as their four-game point streak was snapped. Reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban was benched for around 10 minutes in the third period after taking a roughing penalty at the end of the second.

On Friday, Subban was eager to move on and focus on the Blackhawks.

"We're not helping ourselves by dwelling on things from the last game. We've got to turn the page pretty quick here," he said. "We have a team coming into our building that's had a lot of success and has some great individual talent."

The Blackhawks had little trouble with the Canadiens in the most recent game in the series, winning 5-1 at home Dec. 21, 2011.

Crawford made 20 saves in that contest and is 1-0-1 with a 1.48 GAA in two career meetings with his hometown club. Subban scored an overtime goal on him in his only game in Montreal, a 2-1 loss April 5, 2011.

Crawford will get the start Saturday.

"There will be a lot of people there, friends and family. It's always a special game when we play there. The last time was really fun," Crawford said. "I was a little nervous last time. I think playing there once before will help me."

Canadiens No. 1 goalie Carey Price is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA in three career games against Chicago.

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