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

Chicago Blackhawks

Despite salvaging a point in last night’s overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils, it’s been anything but sunshine and roses for the Blackhawks to open the season. We knew that this tough road trip to open the season would be a challenge for Chicago, and unfortunately, they’ve failed to live up to much of the preseason expectations and have yet to record their first victory.

Now they’ll take on an Eastern Conference power in Pittsburgh tonight, a team that is yet to lose a game in regulation in the early-going and could very well put the Blackhawks’ early flaws front and center again tonight at PPG Arena. Even without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup for Pittsburgh, the Blackhawks are going to have to play a much cleaner version of hockey if they hope to return to the United Center with at least one win on this three-game road trip.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, AT&T SN Pittsburgh, NHLN
Radio: WGN 720 AM, WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish)

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (0-1-1)

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

McCabe – Murphy
de Haan – Jones
Stillman – Gustafsson 

Fleury
Lankinen

Penguins (1-0-1)

Guentzel – Carter – Heinen
Zucker – Rodrigues – Kapanen
Aston-Reese – Blueger – McGinn
O’Connor – Boyle – Simon

Dumoulin – Letang
Pettersson – Marino
Friedman – Ruhwedel

Jarry
DeSmith 

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

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

Penguins: 

Sidney Crosby (Day-to-Day – Wrist)
Mike Matheson (Day-to-Day – Lower body)
Ryan Rust (Day-to-Day – Undisclosed)
Evgeni Malkin (Month-to-Month – Knee)

What To Watch For

•   Marc-André Fleury gets the start in Pittsburgh against one of his former clubs when the Blackhawks play the Penguins. On Wednesday night, Fleury saved 32-of-36 shots on goal against the Avalanche, but let’s be serious about those first three goals; they were squarely on the defensive unit. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks did Fleury no favors in Colorado as they were out-shot 16-3 at one point and out-scored 3-0 in the first ten minutes of the game.

•   The Penguins will be without stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin tonight with both sidelined with injuries, but the Blackhawks will still have their work cut out for them in the final game of this three-game, four-night road trip to open the season. Pittsburgh took three of four possible points in their first two games of the season after they crushed the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 on Tuesday night, and then lost to Joel Quenneville and the Florida Panthers in overtime on Thursday. Tristan Jarry, who is in net for Pittsburgh tonight, stopped 26 of 28 shots against the Lightning on Tuesday.

•   The Blackhawks will run it back tonight with the same lineup that they featured last night, save for Fleury in net over Lankinen. Jeremy Colliton and Jonathan Toews admitted last night that our eyes had not deceived us through two games, and the Blackhawks have been a team struggling to find continuity and consistency thus far. But, Colliton and Toews stressed their confidence in a cleaner version of this team’s capabilities being on the horizon. Let’s hope they can find some rhythm in game number three because if they don’t, it could be a long evening in Pittsburgh.

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.