Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss in a shootout against the Hurricanes was probably about as good a result as the Blackhawks could hope for.
After all, they scored on their only power-play opportunity, got Alex DeBrincat and Nicolas Beaudin back in the lineup — and both looked very good, with DeBrincat scoring two assists and Beaudin generating a high-danger chance, which is rare for a defenseman. Kevin Lankinen also faced one of the Central Division’s top teams for the first time this season and had a .927 save percentage.
The Hurricanes also got players back as Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Martinook played their first games in weeks. However, the Hurricanes are still missing starting goaltender Petr Mrazek and James Reimer had just a .909 save percentage. It’s his third-straight game with a save percentage under .910.
The Blackhawks got roughed up at 5-on-5 — with just a 37.73 expected goal percentage — but they scored two goals to the Hurricanes’ three, including a Patrick Kane tally to tie the game before the first period ended after going down 2-0 early.
The Hurricanes will likely roll with the same lines as Tuesday, after a victory that put them at the top of the division with 12 points in only seven games. Their defensive pairings will also likely stay the same after allowing the Blackhawks just six high-danger chances at full strength. However, the Hurricanes will be switching netminders after Reimer’s less than stellar performance. Alex Nedeljkovic looks to be getting the start based on Carolina’s practice. This will be the young netminder’s seventh career NHL start.
Chicago won’t get any of the other members of the COVID-19 protocol list back in the meantime. Ryan Carpenter, Lucas Wallmark and Adam Boqvist all remain out. Coach Jeremy Colliton declined to give any details on lineup changes while addressing the media following Thursday’s morning skate. However, Malcolm Subban was reportedly in the net traditionally occupied by that day’s starting goalie, so Lankinen may get a night off after another great start on Tuesday.
Otherwise, expect the same line combinations. Especially the second of Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. After a 72.58 expected goal percentage Tuesday (best on the team with more than a minute), that line could be looking at long-term time together. Both Kubalik and DeBrincat had two assists on Tuesday.
Tale of the tape (statistics from this season)
Blackhawks — Statistic — Hurricanes
48.05% (19th) — Corsi For — 57.05% (1st)
46.73% (23rd) — Expected goals for — 57.10 (1st)
2.64 (22nd) — Goals per game — 2.86 (16th)
3.0 (18th) — Goals against per game — 1.86 (1st)
48.1% (24th) — Faceoffs — 50.8% (14th)
34.4% (6th) — Power play — 25.9% (10th)
79.0% (17th) — Penalty kill — 88.0% (3rd)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
Janmark — Kurashev — Kane
DeBrincat — Strome — Kubalik
Hagel — Soderberg — Shaw
Highmore — Kampf — Suter
Keith — Mitchell
de Haan — Murphy
Zadorov — Beaudin
McGinn — Aho — Teravainen
Niederretier — Trocheck — Necas
Svechnikov — Staal — Foegele
Dzingel — Geekie — Martinook
Slavin — Hamilton
Skjei — Pesce
Gardiner — Fleury
How to watch
When: 7 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV