Pre-Gamin’: Blackhawks at Predators (1:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

After a 13-day break in the schedule to end the month of December, the Blackhawks are back in action to begin 2022 with an afternoon matchup against the Nashville Predators. Chicago and Nashville have met twice this season and both games have been decided in overtime. In Derek King’s first game as interim head coach on November 7, the Blackhawks topped the Predators 2-1. The second-to-last game the Blackhawks played in December was against the Predators, a 3-2 overtime loss with both of those games happening in Chicago.

The Blackhawks enter today’s game having their last three go to overtime, but have earned points in four of their last five games, going 2-1-2. Since American Thanksgiving, the Blackhawks are 5-4-2 with just one win (December 9 vs Montreal) coming in regulation.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 1:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, ESPN+ (Out-of-market)
Radio: WGN 720 AM, TUDN 1200 AM (Spanish)

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (11-15-4)

DeBrincat – Borgström – Kane
Hagel – Toews – Strome
Kubalík – Dach – Kurashev
Carpenter – Entwistle – Khaira

de Haan – S. Jones
Stillman – Murphy
McCabe – Gustafsson

Delia

Predators (19-11-2)

Forsberg – Granlund – Duchene
Tolvanen – Johansen – Kunin
Trenin – Cousins – Jeannot
Luff – McCarron – Tomasino

Ekholm – Carrier
Harper – Fabbro
Borowiecki – Benning

Saros

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Tyler Johnson (Three Months – Neck Surgery)
Marc-André Fleury (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Kevin Lankinen (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Reese Johnson (IR – Broken Clavicle)

Predators:

Tom Novak (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Roman Josi (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Colton Sissons (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)

What To Watch For

•   Dating back to the beginning of last season, DeBrincat has 49 goals over his last 82 games played. That total is fourth-most in the NHL. DeBrincat’s career-high in a single season came during his second year in the league when he scored 41 goals during the 2018-19 season. He has 17 goals this season, leading the Blackhawks and ranking fifth in the NHL. Oh, and he is going to be a Dad later this year.

•   While on their break to end the month of December, the Blackhawk lost both of their NHL goaltenders to COVID protocols with Marc-André Fleury being placed in them on December 26 and Kevin Lankinen on December 31. That leaves Chicago with Collin Delia and Arvid Söderblom to fill the lineup. Both goaltenders have played all season in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, with Delia having a 4-4-1 record, .907 save-percentage, and a 2.86 GAA in ten appearances. Söderblom has a 4-5-0 record in nine appearances this season, with a .915 save-percentage and a 3.15 GAA. Delia will get the start today in Nashville, his first NHL game of the season. He has a career NHL record of 8-8-4 with a .905 save-percentage and a 3.63 GAA in 24 appearances with the Blackhawks.

•   The Blackhawks used their break in December to try to shore-up a number of aspects of their game, with work on the penalty-kill being at the forefront. Under Derek King, the Blackhawks’ penalty-kill ranks last in the NHL, having just a 68.0% kill-rate (34 of their last 50). They rank 16th in the NHL in times shorthanded per game (2.78) over that same span of games. They’ll face a Predators powerplay unit that is sixth in the NHL this season with a 24.7% success-rate, 14th in the NHL (24.1%) for the month of December.

Get Caught Up

written by

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

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