March has finally come to a close, or at least it will tonight for the Chicago Blackhawks. A month that ended up being just as difficult as advertised, Chicago finishes with a two-game set against the Carolina Hurricanes beginning tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT at the United Center.
With a record of 4-8-1 in the month, the Blackhawks will be happy to see the calendar flip over to April. The focus over the next two games is to regain the form and momentum Chicago built following their two-game sweep of the Florida Panther just a week and a half ago. They need any and all points they can get against the Hurricanes, who enjoy a healthy 12-point cushion between themselves and the Blackhawks in the standings.
Chicago has dropped seven of their last 10 games, all in regulation. It is the worst stretch of play they have put together this season. In the month of March, only the Buffalo Sabres (2) have earned fewer points in the standings than the Blackhawks (9), and the Sabres haven’t won a game since February 23rd.
So yeah, things need to turn around fast. Tonight would be a great time to do so.
Puck Drop: 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, NBCSN
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM
Blackhawks (16-15-5, 37 pts)
Janmark – Dach – Kane
Kubalík – Kämpf – Hagel
DeBrincat – Suter – Strome
Carpenter – Söderberg – Kurashev
Keith – Boqvist
de Haan – Kalynuk
Hurricanes (23-7-3, 49 pts)
Niederreiter – Aho – Necas
Svechnikov – Trocheck – Fast
McGinn – Staal – Foegele
Martinook – Lorentz – Paquette
Slavin – Hamilton
Skjei – Pesce
Fleury – Bean
Brent Seabrook (LTIR – Retirement)
Zack Smith (LTIR – Back)
Andrew Shaw (LTIR – Concussion)
Alex Nylander (LTIR – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)
Petr Mrazek (Week-to-week – Thumb)
Vincent Trochek (Game-time decision – Upper Body)
Teuvo Teravainen (Day-to-day – Concussion)
The Blackhawks are +1.5 point underdogs against the Hurricanes tonight, and find themselves at +140 on the moneyline according to the DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook. You can go right here to sign up and make a bet.
What To Watch For
• Kevin Lankinen gets the start for the Blackhawks tonight. He has started every game for Chicago when facing the Hurricanes this season, going 1-1-1 with a .902 save percentage and allowing 11 goals in three games. Lankinen is 12-8-4 this season with a .920 save percentage and a 2.72 GAA and ranks tied for second in the NHL in wins by rookie goaltenders.
• Alex DeBrincat tallied his fourth multi-goal game of the season on Sunday night with a pair of goals. Since he returned to the lineup on February 2nd, DeBrincat shares the NHL lead with 16 goals. His four multi-goal games is second in the league behind Auston Matthews with six multi-goal games. His 18 goals this season leads Chicago and is tied for fifth in the league.
• With an assist on Saturday night, Dougie Hamilton extended his point streak to 14 games. The point streak is the longest in Hurricanes franchise history by a defenseman, the longest active in the NHL and the longest by any NHL player this season. Hamilton has 16 points over the 14-game stretch.
Get Caught Up …
Kevin Lankinen will start tonight vs. Carolina.
Dylan Strome back in for Matthew Highmore. Wyatt Kalynuk in for Nicolas Beaudin. #Blackhawks
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) March 30, 2021
Colliton said Dach was much better Saturday than Sunday.
"Usually the first game’s good: you're going on adrenaline, keeping it simple. That’s a good recipe to be good. Then the next game is when reality hits, and your timing isn’t quite there."
Said he'll improve in time.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 30, 2021
"You don't want to sit on the bench and just watch the other guys play. … You want to be out there when the game is on the line."
Adam Boqvist on his ice time increasing of late
— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) March 30, 2021
Derek King on Wyatt Kalynuk: "You can see when he plays his game, the way he skates, the way he handles the puck, controls the play that he's ready for the NHL. I'd love to have him for a full year, selfishly." #IceHogs #Blackhawks
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 30, 2021