The pressure is on the Chicago Blackhawks entering a national TV matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. A few days off have given the Hawks some time to brood over their recent struggles, and now begins the effort to get back to playing winning hockey.
The team has done its best to display an even keel over the past few days despite the regular questions about what’ll take to end a slump that’s led to five losses in six games. This is what the Blackhawks do: Express a level of confidence regardless of what the outside noises suggests.
But as our Dave Melton noted Wednesday morning, there comes a time when there are too many warning signs to feel great about this team, even if it’s early in the season. Joel Quenneville screaming a few f-bombs during a morning skate won’t be enough to make us all feel like this thing is going in the right direction.
So it’s fair to say that there’s a lot at stake over the next few weeks, at least as far as November games can go. This situation will morph from a mildly concerning slump to a grander discussion about what needs to change if the team doesn’t start to look better soon.
The Flyers are a beatable team that’s lost four of its past six games, including handing the Coyotes their first win of the season. Their offense looks impressive, but this should be an opportunity for the Blackhawks’ tepid offense to bring some heat. Philadelphia’s defensive corps is underwhelming, to say the least.
Nolan Patrick and Shayne Gostisbehere will also be out, which takes a bite out of their depth.
This game begins a five-game stretch where the Hawks play the Wild, Canadiens, Hurricanes, and Flyers (two times). It won’t be a good sign for anyone if the team can’t begin turning it around right here.
F1: Alex DeBrincat — Jonathan Toews — Richard Panik
F2: Brandon Saad — Nick Schmaltz — Patrick Kane
F3: Patrick Sharp — Artem Anisimov — John Hayden
F4: Lance Bouma — Tommy Wingels — Ryan Hartman
D1: Duncan Keith — Cody Franson
D2: Jan Rutta — Brent Seabrook
D3: Michal Kempny — Connor Murphy
Goaltender: Corey Crawford
F1: Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Jakub Voracek
F2: Jordan Weal — Valtteri Filppula — Wayne Simmonds
F3: Dale Weise — Jori Lehtera — Travis Konecny
F4: Taylor Leier — Scott Laughton — Michael Raffl
D1: Ivan Provorov — Robert Hagg
D2: Travis Sanheim — Radko Gudas
D3: Brandon Manning — Mark Alt
Goaltender: Brian Elliott
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Flyers
Start time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports Live