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Put Your Money on Me: Blackhawks vs. Canadiens Preview

Kirby Dach revenge game incoming.

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Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Drouin of the Montreal Canadiens checks Caleb Jones of the Chicago Blackhawks into the boards
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

It’s the return of the Dach as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Montreal Canadiens on Black Friday.

In this matinee game, the Blackhawks will host former No. 3 pick Kirby Dach, who returns for the first time, as a member of the Canadiens. Dach has scored 17 points in 20 games for Montreal, including four goals. Dach scored just nine goals for the Blackhawks last year in 70 games.

Dach also has two game-winning goals, a stat he only achieved in his rookie year in Chicago. Like many of the cast-off Hawks from this offseason, Dach is enjoying a career — well, it wouldn’t technically be a resurgence — surge as a member of a different team.

The Canadiens themselves aren’t really anything special, although they are significantly better than last season in their first full year under head coach Marty St. Louis. The Canadiens have 21 points in the standings through 20 games and have won 10 games.

The Canadiens have allowed the most goals in the Atlantic Division (71) while scoring the third-fewest (62). Without Carey Price in net for the second-straight season, the Canadiens are struggling, with a team save percentage of .902. Starter Jake Allen is at just a .891 mark, allowing seven goals in a game for the first time in his career on Tuesday. Backup Sam Montembeault picked up the win in Montreal’s 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

The Canadiens are led in scoring by their young guns, including Nick Suzuki, who has 23 points in 20 games so far this season. Cole Caulfield has 21 points, including 12 goals, while Dach has 17 points. Kaiden Guhle, 21, is also first among Canadiens defensemen in scoring with eight points.

The Canadiens aren’t helped by their lack of possession, as they have just a 48.32 percent shot attempt share at 5-on-5 (23rd in the league) and a 45.95 percent expected goal share (25th). While that’s better than the Blackhawks, that may not be great for two teams that could use a player like Connor Bedard.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are coming in off a five-game losing streak, all of those games being played without goaltender Alex Stalock. He remains in concussion protocol and was the thought to be the team’s backup, but Stalock does have the best save percentage on the Blackhawks’ roster this season at .914, as Petr Mrazek is struggling with a .885 mark and Arvid Soderblom has fallen a bit, down to .909.

This will be a test and an example for the younger Blackhawks players, as the Canadiens are being almost entirely supported by their youth movement under a coach focused on helping those younger players. While trading Dach may have been the best move for the Blackhawks — and also netted Chicago Frank Nazar — it also currently makes sense for the Canadiens.

Let’s tank, Hawks.

Tale of the tape (statistics from this season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Canadiens

40.89% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 48.32% (23rd)

40.09% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 45.95% (25th)

2.53 (31st) — Goals per game — 3 (19th)

3.53 (26th) — Goals against per game — 3.55 (27th)

56.9% (1st) — Faceoffs — 51.7% (11th)

20.7% (19th) — Power play — 15.3% (28th)

74.6% (24th) — Penalty kill — 80.3% (13th)

Projected lineups (subject to change)


Athanasiou — Domi — Kane

Kurashev — Toews — Raddysh

Entwistle — Dickinson — Lafferty

R. Johnson — Khaira — Blackwell

J. Johnson — S. Jones

Tinordi — Murphy

McCabe — C. Jones




Caufield — Suzuki — Dach

Dadonov — Dvorak — Gallagher

Armia — Monahan — Anderson

Pezzetta — Evans — Slafkovsky

Matheson — Savard

Guhle — Edmundson

Xhekaj — Kovacevik


How to watch

When: 1 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Radio: WGN 720

Live stream: Sling TV