Series Preview: Blackhawks vs Hurricanes, February 2 and 4, 2021

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Series Preview: Blackhawks vs Hurricanes, February 2 and 4, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s been a weird first ten games for the Chicago Blackhawks. They’ve started the season without key players in their lineup and juggled goaltenders in the first handful of matchups. But in the past five or six games, the Blackhawks have turned a bit of a corner, thanks – in large part – to the play of Kevin Lankinen in net.

Starting the season as the third goalie in line behind Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia, Lankinen has emerged as a possible team MVP candidate behind Patrick Kane. Now they turn their attentions to the Carolina Hurricanes, who have won their last four games in-a-row and five of their first six of the season.

One-Timers

•  The Blackhawks have at least a point in six of their first ten games, something that I didn’t expect. They are 3-1-2 in their last six games and 3-1-0 at the United Center to start this season.

•   The Blackhawks are down five players to the NHL’s COVID Protocol list. Alex DeBrincat, Adam Boqvist, Lucas Wallmark, Nicolas Beaudin, and Ryan Carpenter remain on the list, leaving meaningful minutes left on the ice. Rookies like Philipp Kurashev, Brandon Hagel, and Lucas Carlsson have stepped in and helped pick up the slack and then some with those key players out.

•   The Hurricanes are dealing with their own key players out due to COVID. Even with Warren Foegele, Jaccob Slavin, and Teuvo Teravainen out, the Hurricanes have not missed a beat. Vincent Trochek, Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton, and Andrei Svechnikov have been pulling their weight for Carolina and have them in second-place in the Central Division through six games.

Puck Drops and Broadcast Info

•   Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, FS-CR
Radio: WGN 720 AM

•   Thursday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, FS-CR
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (3-4-3, 9 pts)

Janmark – Suter – Kane
Kubalík – Strome – Kurashev
Hagel – Söderberg– Shaw
Highmore – Kämpf – Johnson

Keith – Carlsson
De Haan – Mitchell
Zadorov – Murphy

Lankinen / Subban / Delia

Hurricanes (5-1-0, 10 pts)

Svechnikov – Aho – McGinn
Niederreiter – Trochek – Necas
Lorentz – Staal – Dzingel
Shore – Geekie – Rempal

Skjei – Hamilton
Gardiner – Pesce
Fleury – Bean

Reimer / Nedeljkovic

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay
Blackhawks: 33.3% (6th)
Hurricanes: 26.9% (11th)

Penalty-Kill
Blackhawks: 78.4% (17th)
Hurricanes: 91.3% (2nd)

Faceoffs
Blackhawks: 48.6% (23rd)
Hurricanes: 49.9% (19th)

Goals Per Game
Blackhawks: 2.60 (22nd)
Hurricanes: 2.83 (19th)

Goals Against Per Game
Blackhawks: 3.00 (19th)
Hurricanes: 1.67 (1st)

Top Scorer
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane – 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points
Hurricanes: Three tied for team-lead 6 points – Vincent Trochek, Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Brent Seabrook (IR – Lower Back)
Zack Smith (IR – Back)
Kirby Dach (LTIR – Out 4-5 months – Wrist)
Alex Nylander (LTIR – Out 4-6 months – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)
Alex DeBrincat (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Adam Boqvist (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Lucas Wallmark (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Ryan Carpenter (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Nicolas Beaudin (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)

Hurricanes:

Max McCormick (IR – Upper Body)
Petr Mrazek (Day-to-day – Upper Body)
Jesper Fast (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Teuvo Teravainen (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Jaccob Slavin (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Warren Foegele (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Jordan Martinook (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)

Keep An Eye Out For

New Line Chemistry. The Blackhawks have a top-line trio of Patrick Kane, Mattias Janmark, and rookie Philipp Kurashev and although they only had one game working together, it was a highly successful debut. Kurashev and Kane had a goal and assist each and Janmark had two assists against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. All three have individually be bright spots for the Blackhawks and now could potentially be the offensive driving line for Chicago.

Optimus Reim. With Petr Mrazek out with an upper body injury, the Hurricanes will be turning to veteran netminder James Reimer. In three appearances this season, Reimer is 3-0-0 with a .918 save percentage and a 1.99 GAA. Reimer has a career .914 save percentage in 10 NHL seasons, including a 14-6-2 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.66 GAA in 25 appearances with the Hurricanes last season.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.