After a disastrous six-game road trip, the Blackhawks return to the United Center on Tuesday night and will unveil another rookie when they host the Panthers.
Coach Jeremy Colliton revealed at the morning skate that MacKenzie Entiwstle will make his NHL debut in this game, becoming the seventh Chicago player to do so in the 2021 season. Entwistle was originally a nice third-round pick (69th overall) by the Coyotes in the 2017 NHL Draft then came to the Blackhawks in the July 2018 trade that moved Marian Hossa’s contract to the desert. Entwistle’s played 12 games with the IceHogs this season, scoring two goals with three assists. He’s expected to slot in on Chicago’s fourth line for this game.
The visiting Panthers have come back to earth slightly after winning six of seven games earlier in March. Florida has lost two of its last three, including a 2-1 defeat against the Predators and a 5-3 loss to the Lightning on Sunday. Still, this was a team that beat Chicago twice just over a week ago and didn’t appear to have much trouble in doing so and that loss to Tampa was a one-goal game until an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining.
Florida has plenty of firepower atop its lineup with Alexsander Barkov (13 G, 24 A) leading the way and Aaron Ekblad (10 G, 10 A) powering the blue line. In net, Sergei Bobrovsky has somewhat recovered from a dreadful start while backup Chris Driedger remains a solid No. 2 option when Bobrovsky needs a spell. Behind the bench is a future Hall of Fame coach, too, just adding to the complete nature of the hockey product the Panthers have produced.
For the Blackhawks, it’s another chance to show how it stacks up against one of the league’s top teams. That opportunity has been squandered for much of March, with Chicago winning just two if its nine games this month — and only once in regulation. Perhaps the familiar confines of the United Center will give Chicago a much needed boost against a team it has not beaten yet (0-3-1) this season.
Let’s go Hawks!
Blackhawks — Statistic — Panthers
46.70% (28th) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 52.53% (7th)
45.32% (30th) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 53.83% (4th)
2.91 (17th) — Goals per game — 3.35 (5th)
3.25 (25th) — Goals against per game — 2.77 (14th)
46.1% (29th) — Faceoffs — 49.8% (19th)
28.0% (3rd) — Power play — 25.5% (8th)
72.5% (28th) — Penalty kill — 81.1% (12th)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
DeBrincat — Suter — Kane
Kubalik — Kampf — Hagel
Janmark — Carpenter — Strome
Entwistle — Soderberg — Kurashev
Keith — Murphy
de Haan — Boqvist
Zadorov — Michell
Verhaeghe — Barkov — Duclair
Huberdeau — Wennberg — Hornqvist
Vatrano — Luostarinen — Tippett
Marchment — Acciari — Lomberg
Weegar — Ekblad
Forsling — Gudas
Yandle — Stralman
How to watch
When: 7 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV