The Blackhawks are home for the Holidays and take on the Devils Monday at United Center.
Chicago (15-16-6) is coming off arguably their biggest win of the season when they came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to stun Colorado 5-3 behind Patrick Kane’s 20th goal of the season, Jonathan Toews’ three point game and Robin Lehner’s 28 save performance. Kirby Dach had a stellar game as well, snapping a 16-game goal drought with the game tying gino.
It’s been an unlucky season for the Blackhawks when it comes to injuries to key players. Defenseman Calvin de Haan is out long term after re-injuring his surgically repaired right shoulder, Brandon Saad is on the Injured Reserve nursing his right ankle, Drake Caggiula and Andrew Shaw are still recovering from concussions and Brent Seabrook is undergoing medical evaluation. Yet, Chicago continues to fight through adversity and are plugging their lineup holes with prospects and depth pieces:
- Rookie defensemen Adam Boqvist and Dennis Gilbert have stepped up their games averaging 15:36 and 16:45 minutes of ice time in their last seven games, respectively. Gilbert has added much needed physicality from the blue line with a team high 14 hits in his last six games and has dropped the gloves multiple times to either protect a teammate or fire up the bench.
- Matthew Highmore has fit in nicely on the fourth line. He’s only been on the ice for one goal against in his last six games, while generating seven individual scoring chances.
- Alex Nylander and Kirby Dach continue to mature and have played some of their best hockey in the last few games.
There are certainly signs of progress as Christmas approaches, but the Blackhawks will need to consistently play with the effort they showed in Winnipeg and Colorado if they have any hopes of joining the Western Conference playoff mix.
Corey Crawford is slated to start for Chicago after Lehner started two straight games. Crawford has hit a bit of a rough patch with a 0.891 save-percentage in three straight losses. He’ll look to get back in the win column for the first time since beating the Devils 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 6.
John Quenneville, who was just called up from the AHL on Sunday after collecting eight points in his last five games for Rockford, will make his Blackhawks debut against the Devils. Dylan Sikura will be a healthy scratch after only playing 6:57 minutes on Saturday.
New Jersey (11-19-5) comes to Chicago in the midst of a 2-8-1 stretch that saw their head coach John Hynes fired and replaced by Alain Nasreddine, as well as their top scoring threat in Taylor Hall traded to Arizona.
Two Devils to keep an eye on are sniper Kyle Palmieri who leads the team with 14 goals, seven of those coming on the power play, and the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes. Hughes has 13 points in 32 games and combines electric speed with high-end playmaking ability. Look for Hughes, who idolized Kane growing up, to have an extra jolt to his game against the Blackhawks.
Boqvist will also get his first chance to face off against his older brother Jesper Boqvist:
Adam Boqvist on first NHL matchup against his brother, Jesper:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) December 23, 2019
"We played against each other in the basement, but we played on the same team growing up. Dad was the coach, and now he's in the crowd. So it's going to be a lot of fun tonight."
MacKenzie Blackwood will start for the Devils. He was impressive against Chicago earlier in December with 28 saves and has been riding that momentum with a 0.935 save-percentage in his last five appearances.
A Blackhawks win tonight and they’ll be 16-16-6.— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) December 23, 2019
666 with a win over the Devils.
Tale of the Tape
47.7% (25th) — Corsi For — 46.0% (30th)
49.7% (20th) — Faceoffs — 46.3% (30th)
2.80 (t-21st) — Goals per game — 2.40 (30th)
2.95 (18th) — Goals against per game — 3.34 (30th)
16.4% (25th) — Power play — 13.4% (29th)
80.9% (15th) — Penalty kill — 79.5% (21st)
Kubalik — Toews — Kane
DeBrincat — Dach — Carpenter
Quenneville — Strome — Nylander
Smith — Kampf— Highmore
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Gilbert
Boqvist — Hischier— Palmieri
Coleman — Zajac — Gusev
Wood — Hughes — Simmonds
Bratt — Zacha — Hayden
Greene — Subban
Butcher — Vatanen
Mueller — Severson
How to watch
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app