Pre-Gamin': Blackhawks vs Canadiens (7:30 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Blackhawks vs Canadiens (7:30 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks take their two-game winning streak home with them tonight as they host the Montreal Canadiens, who have lost ten of their last 11 games (1-8-2) dating back to December 1, and have lost four-straight. Montreal is last in the NHL with 18 points in 35 games played, a 7-24-4 record. The last time the Blackhawks played the least-place team in the NHL was on January 6 in Arizona, a 6-4 loss to the Coyotes.

Moral of the story: there are no easy games with these Blackhawks. Although, the Blackhawks are 13-2-2 in their last 17 games against the Canadiens with wins in their last three meetings, including Marc-André Fleury’s 500th win, a 2-0 shutout on December 9.

Tonight is also Andrew Shaw Legacy Night, celebrating the career of the two-time Stanley Cup Champion. Shaw played the majority of his career with Chicago, 362 of his 544 NHL games, but the other 182 were played with the Canadiens, so it’s fitting that his special night be a matchup between the two Original Six teams.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, ESPN+ (out-of-market)
Radio: WGN 720 AM, TUDN 1200 AM (Spanish)

Expected Lineups

Blackhawks (13-18-5)

Hagel – Reichel – Kane
DeBrincat – Toews – Kubalík 
Kurashev – Borgström – Connolly
Khaira – Carpenter – Entwistle

de Haan – Murphy
Stillman – Galvas
Gustafsson – C. Jones

Fleury

Canadiens (7-24-4)

Hoffman – Suzuki – Evans
Drouin – Dvorak – Pitlick
Lehkonen – Poehling – Caufield
Armia – Dauphin – Pezzetta

Chiarot – Savard
Kulak – Petry
Romanov – Schueneman

Montembeault

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Tyler Johnson (Three Months – Neck Surgery)
Dylan Strome (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Kirby Dach (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Seth Jones (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Jake McCabe (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Reese Johnson (IR – Broken Clavicle)

Canadiens:

Jake Allen (Day-to-Day – Lower Body)
Kale Clague (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Alex Belzile (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Jesse Ylonen (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Rafael Harvey-Pinard (Day-to-Day – COVID Protocol)
Brendan Gallagher (Day-to-Day – Lower Body)
Mathieu Perreault (Day-to-Day – Lower Body)
Tyler Toffoli (Indefinitely- Hand)
Josh Anderson (Day-to-Day – Upper Body)

What To Watch For

•   Tonight is the NHL debut for rookie Lukas Reichel with the Blackhawks. The 2020 first-round pick by Chicago has played 20 games this season with the AHL Rockford IceHogs and leads the team in goals (11) and points (20) in his time there. Reichel’s stay with the Blackhawks this year will likely be short to avoid using-up the first year of his entry-level deal.

•   Marc-André Fleury will be making his fifth-straight start for Chicago tonight. He is 2-1-1 in his previous four starts with a .895 save-percentage. Over his last 10 starts since December 2, Fleury is 6-2-2 with a .904 save-percentage, a 2.84 GAA, and a shutout on December 9 against these same Montreal Canadiens.

•   Chicago’s penalty-kill ranks 27th in the NHL this season at a 75.2% kill-rate. Since Derek King took over as interim head coach on November 6, the Blackhawks are 31st in the NHL with a 67.7% kill-rate. But, over the past two games, Chicago has only yielded two powerplays against them, one in each game, and have killed-off both of them. It’s progress.

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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