The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers bring their season series to a close tonight the United Center. Chicago holds a 2-3-2 record against the Panthers in seven meetings this season and is fighting to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Panthers have already clinched a spot in the Central Division playoff picture with 71 points on the year, while the Blackhawks trial the Nashville Predators in fourth-place by six points. They also trail the fifth-place Dallas Stars by four points, with the Predators and Stars playing against each other tonight. Chicago is coming off an overtime loss on Thursday night against the Panthers, in which Alex DeBrincat scored the late game-tying goal with just 17 seconds to play to secure a point in the standings.
Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH+, BSFL
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM
Blackhawks (22-22-6, 50 pts)
DeBrincat – Dach – Kane
Hinostroza – Kurashev – Hagel
Kubalík – Strome – Gaudette
Hardman – Kämpf – Connolly
Keith – Kalynuk
Mitchell – Stillman
Murphy – Zadorov
Panthers (33-14-5, 71 pts)
Denisenko – Barkov – Duclair
Huberdeau – Bennett – Tippett
Vatrano – Wennberg – Heponiemi
Lomberg – Lammikko – Acciari
Weegar – Forsling
Yandle – Gudas
Nutivaara – Montour
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)
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)
What To Watch For
• Since March 25th, the Blackhawks rank sixth in the NHL on the penalty-kill with an 87.5% kill-rate. They’re 40 times shorthanded in that span is the fourth-fewest in the league as is their 43 penalties taken since that date. Chicago is second in the league with a +17 penalty differential since March 25th as well, second only to…the Panthers (+20).
• Kirby Dach recorded an assist for the second-straight game and won a career-high 10 faceoffs against the Panthers on Thursday night. His 83% faceoff win-percentage was the highest of his career in a game where he took more than five faceoffs. He has four assists in his last four games and is fifth on the team with a .56 point-per-game pace among players with at least 10 appearances.
• Vinnie Hinostroza extended his point streak to a season-long four games with a goal against the Panthers. He has three goals and five points over that span. Hinostroza has three goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Blackhawks since being acquired on April 2nd. Hinostroza’s new best buddy Brandon Hagel picked up an assist on Thursday night and now has seven points over his last seven games. Hagel is the tenth rookie in the NHL to reach the 20-point plateau this year and his 21 points is tied for seventh among rookies.
Get Caught Up …
Tarps are off the non-bench side of the 100 level in anticipation of fans’ return to the United Center: pic.twitter.com/9CaJAg0eUS
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) May 1, 2021
Jeremy Colliton with another quip. He's on a roll.
"When you're in a development phase for these young guys – first, second, third year in the league – you want to try and give em just the right amount. Not too little, not too much. Goldilocks."
— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) May 1, 2021
Kevin Lankinen will start in goal tonight vs. Florida.
Ian Mitchell in for Nicolas Beaudin and Philipp Kurashev in for Pius Suter. #Blackhawks
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) May 1, 2021
Colliton on Ian Mitchell: "It wasn't unexpected there was a bit of a dropoff. Sometimes when you go through that adversity your confidence takes a hit, so getting back confident in himself and ability to make plays and also certainly get stops and defend." #Blackhawks (2/2)
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) May 1, 2021