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Blackhawks Weekly Preview — October 19, 2021: It Can’t Get Much Worse, Right?

Chicago Blackhawks

The headline says it all. It can’t get much worse.

The Blackhawks went 0-2-1 in their season-opening road trip to Colorado, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh and were able to salvage just one point leading up to the home schedule lid-lifter tonight against the New York Islanders. The schedule this week gets a little bit easier, so there’s that. On the other hand, the Islanders — despite a similar 0-2-0 start — are no slouch. Both teams will be looking to wake from their season-opening slumber tonight at the United Center, which could either make for some great hockey or, you know, the exact opposite.

The Blackhawks finish the week with a visit from Vancouver (1-1-1) on Thursday night and then Detroit (1-0-1) on Sunday night.

If the Blackhawks hope to take advantage of three home games this week, they’ll need better performances from a few faces.

One-Timers

•   Jeremy Colliton is switching things up with his lines ahead of tonight’s game with New York, ending the DeBrincat-Johnson-Kane experiment, and replacing Adam Gaudette with Mike Hardman. Here’s how the lines looked at practice today.

• The Blackhawks rank 29th in the NHL in goals per game against at 4.33. That’s, uh, really bad. Only Vegas (4.50), Arizona (5.33), and the Islanders (5.50) fall behind them in that department. The silver lining? The Blackhawks get to play the Islanders and their 5.33 GA/GM tonight in a get-me-right game at the United Center. With two teams in the bottom four of the NHL in GA/GM, goals will be scored; let’s hope the Blackhawks score more of them tonight.

•   Dylan Strome is still a healthy scratch, and at this point, you have to wonder if he’ll ever play another game with the Blackhawks.

Puck Drops and Broadcast Info

•   Blackhawks vs. Islanders— Tuesday, October 19th at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: ESPN
Radio: WGN 720 AM

•   Blackhawks vs. Canucks — Friday, October 15th at 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, SNP, NHLN
Radio: WGN 720 AM

•   Blackhawks vs. Red Wings — Saturday, October 16th at 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, SN1, NHLN
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Expected Blackhawks Lines

Blackhawks (0-2-1, 1 pts)

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

McCabe – Murphy
de Haan – Stillman
Gustafsson – Jones

Fleury
Lankinen

Blackhawks Tale of the Tape

Powerplay
36.4% (8th)

Penalty-Kill
100% (T-1st)

Faceoffs
54.1% (7th)

Goals Per Game
2.33 (22nd)

Goals Against Per Game
4.33 (29th)

Top Scorers

Patrick Kane: 4 PTS (3 G, 1 A)
Dominik Kubalík: 2 PTS (2 G)
Kirby Dach: 2 PTS (2 G)

Blackhawks Injury Report

Caleb Jones (LTIR – Wrist)
Wyatt Kalynuk (LTIR – Ankle)
Andrew Shaw (LTIR – Retirement)

Keep An Eye Out For

• In a surprising early-season turn of events, the Blackhawks are tied for the top spot in the NHL when it comes to the penalty kill (100 percent) and currently rank eighth in the NHL when they’re on the man advantage, converting 36.4 percent of their chances. The Isles, well, they haven’t been excellent in either department. New York is has converted just 14.3 percent of their opportunities on the power play and has killed off just 66.7 percent of opposing penalties.

• The Detroit Red Wings have allowed 4.0 goals per game, good for 25th in the NHL, and the Vancouver Canucks have allowed 3.0 per game, 18th in the NHL. The Blackhawks should have some opportunities to score goals this week, and hopefully, we’ll see them take advantage and get their 5-on-5 game heading in the right direction.

• I mentioned already that New York has struggled on the power play, but Vancouver and Detroit have been much better than the Islanders. The Canucks have converted on 25 percent of their chances (13th) and the Red Wings have converted on 28.6 percent of their chances (12th). The Blackhawks’ perfect PK% will be put to the test this week, and we’ll see if it’s just an early aberration or something of real substance.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

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