February had been a cruel month for the Chicago Blackhawks. But after a win on Friday night, the Hawks have suddenly won three of their last four heading into a Saturday game on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
And while this month has been cruel on the Blackhawks, it’s been just as bad for the Blue Jackets, who are clinging to the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus has only three wins this month, part of a 3-7-2 stretch over its last 12 games. The Blue Jackets’ most recent outing was a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Finding the net has been the biggest issue in those losses: Columbus has been held to two or fewer goals in nine of those games. Artemi Panarin has been everything Columbus hoped, with team-highs in goals (17), assists (32) and points (49). But the depth scoring behind him leaves plenty to be desired, putting Columbus at 27th in the league for goals scored. Combine that with a minus-12 goal differential, and there are plenty of reasons to worry about Columbus’ playoff aspirations.
While similar playoff aspirations are mostly gone for the Blackhawks, a recent trio of victories has things feeling slightly better around the team. Jean-Francois Berube was stellar in his first Blackhawks start on Friday night. Although Anton Forsberg is expected to get the tail-end of these back-to-back games, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Berube got the net again on Saturday, as coach Joel Quenneville has been known to ride the hot hand. Any other lineup changes won’t be known until the pregame press conference, but changes probably won’t be too prevalent given the team’s recent success.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Vinnie Hinostroza|
|F2||Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Matthew Highmore|
|F4||Patrick Sharp - David Kampf - Anthony Duclair|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Erik Gustafsson - Carl Dahlstrom|
|F1||Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski - Joonas Donskoi|
|F2||Tomas Hertl - Logan Couture - Mikkel Boedker|
|F3||Timo Meier - Chris Tierney - Kevin Labanc|
|F4||Barclay Goodrow - Eric Fehr - Melker Karlsson|
|D1||Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns|
|D2||Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun|
|D3||Brenden Dillon - Dylan Demelo|
|Goaltender||Aaron Dell OR Martin Jones|
*Lines are subject to change.
How to watch Blackhawks at Blue Jackets
Start time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
TV: NBC Sports Chicago