The Chicago Blackhawks hit national television for the first time this season as they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at the United Center. NBCSN is broadcasting the game, which features a pair of notable lineup changes for Joel Quenneville's squad.
Backup goaltender Antti Raanta will make his first start of the season in place of Corey Crawford, who's battling a minor upper body injury. Raanta probably would've gotten a start this week anyways given the schedule, but he'll make his 2014-15 debut earlier as Crawford rests.
Raanta appeared in 25 games for the Hawks last season, posting a 13-5-4 record, 2.71 GAA and .897 save percentage. He appeared in two games against the Flyers with mixed results, splitting the wins while saving 92.5 percent of the shots he faced. Here's to hoping he shows some improvement this season.
The other major change for the team comes on the forward lines with the return of Kris Versteeg. We saw Steegs working with Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw on the second line earlier this week, and while there are some obvious question marks with that group, it's possible Quenneville rolls out that line against Philly on Tuesday.
Opponent Breakdown: Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers enter Tuesday's game well rested like the Blackhawks, but the early portion of the season hasn't been kind to Philadelphia. The team is currently 1-2-2 after winning its first game Saturday against Dallas, and has allowed 20 goals in the past four games.
While Steve Mason was something of a pleasant surprise for the Flyers last season, he's been a disaster early in 2014-15. Craig Berube pulled Mason from Saturday's game after allowing four early goals, and his numbers to date this season are straight up ugly: 0-2-1, 3.78 GAA, .865 save percentage. It's not clear yet whether the team will go with Mason or his backup, Ray Emery, on Tuesday, but either way the Flyers are vulnerable in goal.
Things haven't been so bad on the offensive end, where Philadelphia actually ranks third in the NHL in goals per game at 3.4. The team's power play has been churning early on -- 31.8 percent success rate, second in the league -- and a 97.1 PDO indicates this isn't just some unsustainable run of lucky shots.
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek give the Flyers some of the best scoring weapons in the game, and right now, they're racking up points. Between that fact and the ugly goaltending, it wouldn't be surprising to see a high-scoring game Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks don't have Crawford, but the injury doesn't sound serious and the rest of the roster is relatively healthy. The two guys who missed time earlier this year, Versteeg and Michal Rozsival, are back in the mix, and otherwise it's just the usual nicks and bruises.
As for the Flyers, defenseman Braydon Coburn missed the team's game on Saturday with a lower body injury, and is considered a gametime decision for Tuesday.
When: 7:30 p.m. CT
Where: United Center
TV: NBCSN, CSN Chicago
Radio: WGN 720-AM