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Blackhawks host Islanders in Robin Lehner revenge game

Chicago was 1-0-1 against the Islanders last season.

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche
Robin Lehner of the Chicago Blackhawks tends goal against the Colorado Avalanche
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Coming out of the holiday break, the Blackhawks have never been more injured. Brandon Saad is out for three weeks. Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan are both done for the season with shoulder surgeries performed Friday, and Seabrook has two hip surgeries coming up in 2020. Andrew Shaw still isn’t back, and neither is Drake Caggiula.

Chicago (15-17-6) just lost to the second-worst team in the NHL this season in the Devils, and that was after New Jersey had traded Taylor Hall, their best forward. Things don’t look good. They beat the Avalanche in the game prior to facing the Devils, however, and Robin Lehner was excellent in that game.

That will perhaps be the biggest question heading into this game. Lehner allowed three goals in the loss to the Devils, coming in as relief for Corey Crawford. This will be his first game against his former team, the Islanders, after they let him walk in free agency after a Vezina-nominated season. If this is a revenge game for Lehner, that could be the one saving grace for an extremely injured Blackhawks defense. Lehner has a .924 save percentage this season, although that has fallen to .905 during his last five games.

Defenseman Slater Koekkoek will draw back into the lineup for the first time since Dec. 8 as Adam Boqvist rests a healing right shoulder.

New York (23-9-3), meanwhile, come in to Chicago on a two-game losing streak with losses to to the Ducks and Blue Jackets before the holiday break, but are second in the Metropolitan Division with 49 points and have allowed the fewest goals in the NHL with 91.

The Islanders have a good supply of young offensive talent, with Mathew Barzal leading the way with 32 points in 35 games, including 16 goals. Brock Nelson joins him with 28 points and 13 goals and Ryan Pulock leads the Islanders’ blue line with five goals and 18 points.

Thomas Greiss, Lehner’s former goaltending partner, should get the start for the Islanders, and he’s riding a .906 save percentage in his last five games.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Islanders

47.7% (25th) — Corsi For — 46.6% (t-29th)

49.7% (19th) — Faceoffs — 50.2% (t-16th)

2.74 (t-22nd) — Goals per game — 2.91 (t-19th)

3.05 (t-24th) — Goals against per game — 2.49 (5th)

15.4% (26th) — Power play — 21.4% (10th)

81.4% (13th) — Penalty kill — 79.2% (21st)

Lineups

Blackhawks

Kubalik — Toews — Quenneville

DeBrincat — Dach — Strome

Nylander — Carpenter — Kane

Smith — Kampf — Highmore

Keith — Gustafsson

Koekkoek — Murphy

Maatta — Gilbert

Lehner

Crawford

Islanders

Lee — Barzal — Eberle

Bailey — Nelson — Dal Colle

Beauvillier — Brassard — Kuhnhackl

Martin — Cizikas — Johnston

Pelech — Pulock

Toews — Mayfield

Leddy — Boychuk

Greiss

Varlamov

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app