Ottawa enters this game in a better position than the Hawks — which is a painfully low bar to clear these days — but still toiling near the bottom of the Eastern Division with a 3-4 record. The early breakout player is youngster Drake Batherson, a 2017 fourth-round pick (121st overall) who has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in seven games including a four-point night against the Capitals last week. Joshua Norris (5 G, 1 A) and Connor Brown (1 G, 4 A) are also among the statistical leaders while Brady Tkachuk has a goal and two assists in four games since his late arrival following the resolution of contract disputes.
On defense, Thomas Chabot is average over 27 minutes per game as the team’s clear No. 1 option on the blue line, while one of the league’s better names — Artem Zub — is close behind at 23:45. That duo forms the Senators’ top pairing and should be on the ice for a good chunk of this evening’s proceedings. In net, Matt Murray is on injured reserve and old friend Anton Forsberg hasn’t fared well in his four games (1-2 record, .480 goals against average, .885 save percentage) so expect Filip Gustavsson to be in the Ottawa net. Gustavsson is 2-1 on the young season with a 2.23 GAA and .932 SV%.
As for Chicago, the big news from the morning skate was the return of Patrick Kane from COVID protocol along with a pair of assistant coaches. However, coach Jeremy Colliton dampened expectations of Kane returning to the lineup for Monday night:
Colliton says Patrick Kane's availability for morning skate was "unexpected," and he's not sure if he'll play tonight.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) November 1, 2021
It’s hard to imagine that Kane doesn’t play, but that’s something which will only be known when Chicago hits the ice for warmups. One thing that is known: Marc-Andre Fleury will be the starting goalie.
The only other notable item from the morning skate on Monday was an apparent lengthy conversation between Colliton and Dylan Strome, who’s long-term status with the organization is uncertain at best.
Colliton and Strome having a conversation after practice pic.twitter.com/qgY2WfE0B9— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) November 1, 2021
Based on prior experiences from the season, Strome is probably the No. 1 candidate to be scratched should Kane return to the lineup, which would render the lines below mostly meaningless. But that conversation can happen closer to gametime. Right now, the hope is the Hawks can find some way to put this miserable start to bed with their first win of the season.
Blackhawks — Statistic — Senators (numbers from last season)
45.85% (30th) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 48.57% (19th)
43.96% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 47.86% (22nd)
2.84 (16th) — Goals per game — 2.77 (19th)
3.29 (24th) — Goals against per game — 3.38 (28th)
46.9% (27th) — Faceoffs — 47.4% (26th)
21.7% (11th) — Power play — 15.5% (26th)
76.8% (28th) — Penalty kill — 79.0% (20th)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
Kubalik — Dach — Kurashev
DeBrincat — Strome — Hardman
Hagel — Toews — Carpenter
Gaudette — Entwistle — Johnson
de Haan — Jones
Gustafsson — Murphy
McCabe — Phillips
Tkachuk — Norris — Batherson
Stutzle — Paul — Brown
Formenton — Tierney — Ennis
Sanford — Gambrell — Shaw
Chabot — Zub
Holden — Zaitsev
Mete — Brown
How to watch
When: 7 p.m. CT
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network
Live stream: ESPN+