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Blackhawks host Penguins for 2017-18 season opener

The big day is finally here.

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NHL: Preseason-Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Do you feel that? No, it’s not the unseasonably warm weather, it’s the return of Chicago Blackhawks hockey!!

The Hawks open the 2017-18 regular season Thursday against the defending champion Penguins at the United Center. It’s our first chance to get a look at a newlook roster that’s got 12 new players compared to opening day a year ago.

There’s an interesting vibe around the Blackhawks this season. There are a lot of people who see their overhauled defense and don’t believe that this team is equipped to make another playoff run. On the flip side, the forwards are really coming together and a team that has Duncan Keith probably shouldn’t be dismissed.

The Penguins opened their season Wednesday with a 5-4 loss to the Blues. Pittsburgh still has Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, and Matt Murray, so it’s going to be a tough team to beat. But their bottom six looks downright terrible, while the Hawks will be rolling out a Patrick Sharp-Artem Anisimov-Alex DeBrincat line. That could be an advantage for Chicago.

DeBrincat will be making his NHL debut, as will defenseman Jan Rutta on the third pairing. It’ll also be the Chicago debut for Lance Bouma and Connor Murphy, who will add a serious dose of physicality to the Hawks’ lineup. Murphy in particular is a big hitter who will give the Hawks a bit of a different dynamic this season, for better or worse (hopefully better).

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast by NBC Sports Chicago, formerly known as CSN Chicago. Brad Repplinger made this kickass video for us to get ready for the season, which you should totally watch.

Projected lineups


Position Players
Position Players
F1 Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
F2 Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
F3 Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero - Alex DeBrincat
F4 Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden
D1 Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
D2 Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy
D3 Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
Goaltender Corey Crawford


Position Players
Position Players
F1 Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
F2 Marcus Foligno - Mikko Koivu - Tyler Ennis
F3 Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson EK - Chris Stewart
F4 Daniel Winnik - Matt Cullen - Gustav Olofsson
D1 Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
D2 Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba
D3 Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago