Series Preview: Blackhawks vs Panthers, April 29th and May 1st, 2021

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Series Preview: Blackhawks vs Panthers, April 29th and May 1st, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers complete their regular season series this weekend at the United Center, the final two games this season at the UC without fans in the stands. The Blackhawks and Bulls announced that fans would be able to return – at 25% capacity – for the final home games of the season. That’s great news. But you know what would be better? A team that has something to play for in those final few games. Florida has already punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Chicago’s ticket has essentially blown out of their hand after big gust of wind and they are watching it tumble in the breeze down the road before being swept under a city street sweeper. That city street sweeper is being driven by Joel Quenneville, oddly enough.

One-Timers

•   Since March 25th , the Blackhawks have the fourth-best penalty-kill in the NHL with an 88.9% kill-rate. Their 36 times shorthanded over that span of time is the fourth-fewest in the league. Against the Panthers this season, Chicago has killed-off 15-of-21 powerplays, including going six-for-six on the penalty-kill in their last meeting on, funnily enough, March 25th.

•   David Kampf won 11-of-12 faceoffs against the Lightning on Tuesday night. His 91.7% faceoff win-percentage was the highest of his career in a game where he took at least 10 draws. Kämpf has won 11 or more faceoffs three times over his last eight games. He has the highest faceoff win-percentage of active Blackhawks this season, has won a career-best 354 draws, and his 53.1 win-percentage is the best marker of his career.

•   Rookie defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk extended his career-long point streak to three games with a goal against the Lightning on Tuesday. His four goals this year share the lead among NHL rookie defensemen and also shares the most among Blackhawks defensemen. Kalynuk has scored all four of his goals and has six points over his last eight games.

Puck Drops and Broadcast Info

•   Thursday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, NBCSN
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM

•   Saturday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH+, BSFL
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (22-22-5, 49 pts)

DeBrincat – Dach – Hagel
Hinostroza – Suter – Kane

Kubalík – Strome – Gaudette
Hardman – Kämpf – Connolly

Keith – Beaudin
Kalynuk – Stillman
Murphy Zadorov

Lankinen
Subban

Panthers (32-14-5, 69 pts)

Denisenko – Barkov – Duclair
Huberdeau – Bennett – Tippett
Vatrano – Wennberg – Acciari
Lomberg – Lammikko – Gusev

Weegar – Forsling
Yandle – Nutivaara
Kierstad – Montour

Knight
Bobrovsky

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay
Blackhawks: 22.4% (9th)
Panthers: 21.2% (14th)

Penalty-Kill
Blackhawks: 76.5% (27th)
Panthers: 79.3% (18th)

Faceoffs
Blackhawks: 46.8% (28th)
Panthers: 50.3% (14th)

Goals Per Game
Blackhawks: 2.80 (18th)
Panthers: 3.24 (9th)

Goals Against Per Game
Blackhawks: 3.18 (23rd)
Panthers: 2.73 (12th)

Top Scorer
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane – 15 goals, 45 assists, 60 points
Panthers: Jonathan Huberdeau – 18 goals, 39 assists, 57 points

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Calvin de Haan (Day-to-day – Hip)
Ryan Carpenter (Day-to-day – Concussion)
Brent Seabrook (LTIR – Retirement)
Zack Smith (LTIR – Back)
Andrew Shaw (LTIR – Retirement)
Alex Nylander (LTIR  – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)

Panthers: 

Aaron Ekblad (IR – Out For Season)
Patric Hornqvist (Day-to-day – Upper Body)
Chris Driedger (Day-to-day – Lower Body)
Mason Marchment (Day-to-day – Upper Body)
Carter Verhaeghe (Week-to-week – Upper Body)

Keep An Eye Out For

Power Outage. The Blackhawks once had the NHL’s best powerplays. Now, they’ve fallen to ninth in the league on the man-advantage and are 27th in the NHL since April 1st, having converted on just four or their last 43 powerplay opportunities. Since the beginning of April, Chicago’s 43 powerplay opportunities ranks fifth-most in the NHL. Against the Panthers this season, the Blackhawks are 5-for-19 on the powerplay.

The Dark Knight. Rookie goaltender Spencer Knight will get the first start of the two-game series between the Panthers and Blackhawks. He’s made two appearances for the Panthers this month, making 42 of 43 saves and earning two wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets (his first career start on April 20th) and the Nashville Predators in 20 minutes of relief for Sergei Bobrovsky on Tuesday night.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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