The Chicago Blackhawks’ first two games didn’t go as planned. They’ll look to get back on track in the second leg of a home-and-home against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
A pair of losses to open the season showed that the Hawks are a work-in-progress. Sometimes they were able to get extended time in the offensive zone, but sloppy penalties and an uneven penalty kill have left them 0-2-0. They’re also getting outshot at 5-on-5, which is never good.
Corey Crawford still hasn’t given up a goal at even strength this season, so we can point to positives like that, but the Hawks need to start turning these learning experiences into positive results before they get stuck in a hole. With another division game against a potential Cup contender in Nashville, this would be a good time for a win.
Player to watch for: Patrick Kane
It’s time for the reigning MVP to get on the scoreboard. Through two games, Kane is tops among forwards and third among all Blackhawks in playing time, yet he’s been held scoreless.
Last season, Kane went back-to-back games with zero points just four times. Only once did he go three consecutive games without a point. Part of that was playing next to Artemi Panarin, who has bounced around a bit early in the season, but Chicago needs Kane to produce. The team is too top-heavy, especially as it eases in several rookies, to have its superstar right winger not scoring.
Not that there’s any reason to panic, but Kane is due. Hopefully tonight he breaks through and starts a new run toward 100-plus points.
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Predators
Location: United Center, Chicago
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT