With a pair of wins already acquired on this December homestand, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to complete the holiday hat trick when they host the Florida Panthers at the United Center on Tuesday night.
Neither of the Hawks’ last two wins will go on any highlight reels, but taking four points from two of the league’s worst teams is what Chicago needed to do. And two more points are expected out of this favorable matchup.
Not much has improved for the Panthers following their loss to the Blackhawks on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Florida has lost four of its last six games, although the Panthers did get a 2-1 win on Monday night in Detroit. That means the Panthers will be on the tail end of back-to-back games, adding some more elevation to the steep climb Florida must make to win this game. No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo suffered a lower-body injury that will have him out for a month and James Reimer played a game that went into overtime on Monday night, so 27-year-old Harri Sateri is expected to make his NHL debut.
The Blackhawks lineup will look mostly the same, with one small change:
Corey Crawford starting tonight for #Blackhawks vs. Florida. Cody Franson (lower body) out, Jordan Oesterle stays in. Ryan Hartman back in for Richard Panik.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 12, 2017
Let’s get to the point: two points are not just expected tonight, they’re virtually required. It’s a struggling Florida team playing its second game on short rest while playing a goalie who hasn’t played in the NHL yet. A less stressful game would be a nice touch, given the way the wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes required some late-game heroics to ensure the wins. A victory like Chicago’s previous win over Florida would be nice, when the Hawks took a 2-0 lead after one period and largely coasted the rest of the way.
Do that again on Tuesday night, and then get ready for a high-flying Winnipeg Jets team (Get it?!) on Thursday night.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Alex DeBrincat|
|F2||Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Ryan Hartman - Vinnie Hinostroza - Patrick Sharp|
|F4||Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta|
|F1||Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Nick Bjugstad|
|F2||Jamie McGinn - Vincent Trocheck - Denis Malgin|
|F3||Connor Brickley - Jared McCann - Radim Vrbata|
|F4||Michaeal Haley - Derek Mackenzie - Colton Sceviour|
|D1||Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad|
|D2||Michael Matheson - Mark Pysyk|
|D3||Mackenzie Weegar - Alex Petrovic|
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Panthers
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago