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Pre-Gamin’: Blackhawks at Devils (6:00 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Blackhawks

Ok, take two.

The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off a lackluster performance in their season-opening game on Wednesday night as they fell to the Colorado Avalanche in a game that was not as close as the 4-2 score would suggest. Now not every game is going to be against a Stanley Cup-favorite this season and that should be evident tonight as Chicago travels to take on the New Jersey Devils.

New Jersey is playing their first game of the season and are under-manned coming into their season-opening game due to a few injuries. Chicago is making a few lineup changes following Wednesday’s game, evident that the roster is far from locked-in at this point in the year.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, MSG+, NHLN
Radio: WGN 720 AM, WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish)

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (0-1-0)

Kubalík – Toews – Kurashev
DeBrincat – Johnson – Kane
Borgström – Dach – Hagel
Khaira – Entwistle – Gaudette

McCabe – Murphy
de Haan – Jones
Stillman – Gustafsson 

Lankinen
Fleury

Devils (0-0-0)

Sharangovich – Hughes – Kuokkanen
Zacha – Hischier – Bratt
Johnsson – Mercer – Tatar
Studenic – McLeod – Vesey

Graves – Hamilton
Siegenthaler – Subban
White – Jaros

Bernier
Wedgewood 

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Wyatt Kalynuk (Day-to-Day – ankle)
Caleb Jones (Week-to-Week – wrist)

Devils: 

Ty Smith (Day-to-Day – Lower body)
Miles Wood (Day-to-Day – Lower body)
Damon Severson (Day-to-Day – Lower body)
Tyce Thompson (Day-to-Day – Undisclosed)
MacKenzie Blackwood (Day-to-Day – Heel)

What To Watch For

•   Kevin Lankinen will get the start tonight for the first of two games on back-to-back nights for the Blackhawks, helping setup Marc-André Fleury get the start tomorrow night in Pittsburgh against one of his former clubs when the Blackhawks play the Penguins. Lankinen makes his first start of the year following his breakout season last year when he came into the season as the No. 3 goalie in the depth chart and ended the year as Chicago’s starter. Fleury was treated to a barrage of shots against the Avalanche, so hopefully Lankinen is not subjected to the same baptism by fire for the opening of his 2021-22 season by the Blackhawks’ defense.

•   Speaking of that barrage of shots against Fleury on Wednesday, the Blackhawks were not ready to begin the game against the Avalanche and were out-shot 16-3 at one point and out-scored 3-0 in the first ten minutes of the game. That cannot happen, even against a club as good as the Avalanche. Chicago needs to be ready to go tonight, not from the first puck drop, but from the moment they step onto the ice for warmups. Another slow start will likely see the Blackhawks playing catch-up again, which would be a horrid trend to carry-over into the 2021-22 season.

•   Erik Gustafsson and Adam Gaudette make their regular season debuts tonight as Ryan Carpenter and Ian Mitchell are out of the lineup tonight. Gaudette is one of the many forwards the Blackhawks have in their organization that fit into that bottom-six group and could make an understated impact on the team this season. He has figured out personal health issues that he feels hindered his career and now feels ready to be an impact NHL player for the Blackhawks. Interested to see how he looks after having a very decent preseason. Gustafsson is making his return to the Blackhawks after signing a one-year deal prior to the beginning of the regular season. With injuries on the blue-line for Chicago, the Blackhawks bring back a veteran defenseman in Gustafsson who is just two seasons removed from his career-best year in 2018-19, which he had as a member of the Blackhawks. Here’s to hoping we are not in-store for a classic ‘Gus Bus’ performance tonight.

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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