Tuesday night will see the first matchup between the Blackhawks and the Hurricanes in the 2021 season. The United Center will host the first game between these opponents since Nov. 19, 2019, which ended the Hawks’ four-game winning streak at that time.
With Chicago currently at 3-4-3 (9 points) and Carolina at 5-1-0 (10 points) this could be an interesting game.
The Hurricanes have had a rough start to the season, with several players out at various times including Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin, Jesper Fast and Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal due to COVID-19 protocols, which also led to the ‘Canes having to postpone three games including their scheduled home openers against the Panthers back on Jan. 21 and 23.
With five players out for Saturday’s second game against the Stars, Carolina held its own and delivered the Stars their first and second losses of the season, even after losing their No. 1 goalie Petr Mrazek (save percentage of .955) to an upper-body injury three minutes into Sunday’s game. The injury being more serious that originally thought, the Hurricanes recalled goaltender Antoine Bibeau on Tuesday from the Chicago Wolves to their taxi squad. That game was tied in the last minutes by Carolina’s Nino Niederreiter and ultimately won in shootouts by Vincent Trochek.
In regards to the Blackhawks’ chances this evening: Kevin Lankinen. Need I say more? This guy, who will thankfully be starting in the net for the sixth time in the last seven games, has been holding down the fort for the team and we all know it.
DYK? Kevin Lankinen has allowed two goals or fewer in four straight outings. His .930 save percentage is fifth in the NHL (min. 5 appearances).@RotoRooter | #BetweenThePipes pic.twitter.com/kmsdyFI3pD— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 31, 2021
But in all fairness, this team we have been watching is NOT the Blackhawks. With so many players missing due to injury and COVID-19 Protocol, is it even fair to assess this current team as they are to what they could be otherwise? Fortunate news for the team is that forward Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin have been released from the COVID-19 Protocol list and will be rejoining the team immediately, although it’s not clear when they will rejoin the lineup.
Patrick Kane continues to be a solid backbone of his team and is inching closer to meet the 400-goal mark, which will make him the fourth Blackhawk and 100th player in the NHL to make this landmark. In other news, the rookie Reese Johnson collected seven hits in the game against the Blue Jackets Sunday night, the first Blackhawk to do so in their first game on NHL ice (stats for hits only started being collected in ‘05-06 season).
With all this being said, I’m going to dive into this game with Duncan Keith’s stellar quote on my mind:
"No, it's not tough. Hockey is fun."— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) February 1, 2021
- Duncan Keith on if it's tough to play in the empty United Center
Hockey is fun! And, let’s go Hawks!
Tale of the tape (statistics from this season)
Blackhawks — Statistic — Hurricanes
49.01% (19th) — Corsi For — 56.76% (1st)
47.78% (23rd) — Expected goals for — 56.17 (5th)
2.60 (22th) — Goals per game — 2.83 (19st)
3.0 (15th) — Goals against per game — 1.67 (1st)
49.9% (17th) — Faceoffs — 49.5% (20th)
33.3% (6th) — Power play — 26.9% (11th)
78.4% (17th) — Penalty kill — 91.3% (2nd)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
Janmark — Kurashev — Kane
Kubalik — Strome — Hagel
Johnson — Soderberg — Shaw
Highmore — Kampf — Suter
Keith — Mitchell
de Haan — Murphy
Zadorov — Carlsson
Svechnikov — Aho — McGinn
Niederretier — Trocheck — Necas
Lorentz — Staal — Dzingel
Shore — Geekie — Rempal
Skjei — Hamilton
Gardiner — Pesce
Fleury — Bean
How to watch
When: 7 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV