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Sucker for Pain: Blackhawks at Golden Knights preview

A back-to-back to start in what is likely to be one of the worst seasons of Blackhawks hockey? Oof.

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NHL: APR 27 Golden Knights at Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks center Tyler Johnson keeps the puck away from the net during an NHL game against the Vegas Golden Knights
Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks opened the season against the Colorado Avalanche as most predicted they would.

They lost 5-2 on Wednesday nightm in a predictable fashion. The good news is that some important players scored during the game, including Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as well as trade bait Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou. And even Philipp Kurashev got a primary assist.

Now, the Blackhawks head to Las Vegas for a meeting with the Vegas Golden Knights, looking to redeem themselves after missing the playoffs last season. The Golden Knights (checks notes) put up 51 shots on goal against the Los Angeles Kings, an objectively good possession team last season, on Tuesday night.

Gulp.

The Golden Knights had a rough offseason following their playoff exclusion. Max Pacioretty, their leading goal scorer for the past few seasons, was shipped off with young defenseman Dylan Coghlan for ... future considerations. The Golden Knights escaped the last year of Pacioretty’s $7 million AAV deal and were able to re-sign long-term winger Reilly Smith with that money.

Then the Golden Knights lost goaltender Robin Lehner for the season due to hip surgery, and expectations are not high that Lehner will return any time soon. With goaltender Laurent Brossoit on injured reserve to begin the season, the Golden Knights are currently backstopped by Logan Thompson and Adin Hill, who have a combined 95 games of NHL experience.

The good news for the Golden Knights is that they’re currently healthy otherwise. Nolan Patrick is, unfortunately, on injured reserve to begin the season and may never play again due to a long history of concussions, migraines and other unfortunate head injuries.

Finally, as a Shea, is it weird to me that my team now has both Sheas in the NHL, after trading for Shea Weber? Yes. Yes, it is.

Let’s tank, Hawks.

(Editor’s note on Shea’s use of the word “tank”)

Tale of the tape (statistics from last season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Golden Knights

45.98% (30th) — Corsi For — 52.57% (8th)

45.48% (30th) — Expected goals for — 52.58% (10th)

2.60 (29th) — Goals per game — 3.2 (12th)

3.52 (26th) — Goals against per game — 2.98 (15th)

49.6% (16th) — Faceoffs — 49.3% (19th)

19.2% (21st) — Power play — 18.4% (25th)

76.2% (24th) — Penalty kill — 77.4% (21st)

Projected lineups (card subject to change)

Blackhawks

Athanasiou — Domi — Kane

T. Johnson — Toews — Raddysh

Kurashev — Lafferty — Entwistle

Blackwell — Khaira — Robinson

J. Johnson — S. Jones

Tinordi — Murphy

Roos — Regula

Stalock

Mrazek

Golden Knights

Kessel — Eichel — Smith

Howden — Stephenson — Stone

Marchessault — Karlsson — Cotter

Carrier — Roy — Kolesar

McNabb — Theodore

Martinez — Pietrangelo

Hague — Whitecloud

Thompson

Hill

How to watch

When: 9 p.m. CT

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Radio: WGN 720

Live stream: Sling TV