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Fresh off a win on home ice, Blackhawks set to host Hurricanes

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Kevin Lankinen will start in goal for the sixth time in the last seven Blackhawks games.

NHL: NOV 19 Hurricanes at Blackhawks Photo By Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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:

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)

Blackhawks

Janmark — Kurashev — Kane

Kubalik — Strome — Hagel

Johnson — Soderberg — Shaw

Highmore — Kampf — Suter

Keith — Mitchell

de Haan — Murphy

Zadorov — Carlsson

Lankinen

Subban

Hurricanes

Svechnikov — Aho — McGinn

Niederretier — Trocheck — Necas

Lorentz — Staal — Dzingel

Shore — Geekie — Rempal

Skjei — Hamilton

Gardiner — Pesce

Fleury — Bean

Reimer

Nedeljkovic

How to watch

When: 7 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV