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Chasing Hamburg: Blackhawks vs. Rangers Preview

It’s an Original Six matchup in the Windy City this evening.

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New York Rangers v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Freshly crowned(?) as the worst team in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks host the New York Rangers on Sunday evening at the United Center.

After the Anaheim Ducks won on Saturday — their second in a row! — the Blackhawks reside at the bottom of the NHL standings in both overall points (18 in 29 games) and points percentage (.310). It’s all going according to The Plan™, though.

That’s one storyline from the Second City for this game, a national broadcast on ESPN that is available on Sling TV. The situation with the team from the Big Apple is significantly rosier, as the Rangers enter this game as winners of six straight — most recently a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. New York quickly hopped on a plane out of Philly to arrive in Chicago late last night, so the Rangers’ legs could be a touch heavy for this game.

A similar circumstance unfolded two weeks ago, with the Rangers on the tail end of a back-to-back and the Blackhawks as the opponent for that game. The result was a 5-2 Chicago win: both the last game won by the Hawks and the last game lost by the Rangers. Max Domi was the start that night with three points, while the second period featured a healthy amount of fisticuffs with the consistently obnoxious Jacob Trouba in the center of it. One possible road to a win for the Blackhawks this evening would be to take advantage whenever Trouba skates out onto Lake Michigan while chasing a hit, leaving ample room behind him in the zone for scoring chances.

The offensive weapons are aplenty in New York, though, with Artemi Panarin leading the way at over a point-per-game pace (37 in 32). Mika Zibanejad (15 G, 20 A) is similarly thriving, while Adam Fox will probably factor in Norris Trophy voting again with 31 points in 32 games. Depth scoring from Chris Kreider (14 G, 10 A) and Vincent Trocheck (10 G, 13 A) help round out the Rangers attack. It’s far from the most lethal outfit in the league, but it can certainly get the job done. In net, Igor Shesterkin is playing well again with a 15-4-4 record, .917 save percentage and 2.45 goals-against average. He figures to be the starter with backup and one-time postseason wonder Jaroslav Halak playing on Saturday night in Philly.

As for the Hawks, the other noteworthy item for this game is that it’ll be the 1,000th time that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will skate as teammates in the NHL. They’re the 11th NHL duo to reach that mark, with the Los Angeles Kings pair of Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar just ahead of them at 1,028 games together. Former Blackhawks blue-liners Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook checked in at 1,069 before their careers ended. Answers on how far beyond that four-digit milestone the Toews/Kane duo travels is something we’ll find out in the next few months.

Fireworks can be expected in this one, given the bad blood from just two weeks ago that’s hardly had a chance to simmer. Feels like some Old Time Hockey™ is on order for these two Original Six franchises.

Let’s go Hawks.

Tale of the tape (statistics from this season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Rangers

41.21% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 51.52% (10th)

40.86% (30th) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 51.27% (14th)

2.31 (32nd) — Goals per game — 3.16 (17th)

3.69 (29th) — Goals against per game — 2.75 (6th)

56.7% (1st) — Faceoffs — 48.8% (20th)

23.08% (14th) — Power play — 23.2% (12th)

72.0% (27th) — Penalty kill — 81.4% (6th)

Projected lineups (subject to change)


Lafferty — Domi — Kane

Kurashev — Toews — Raddysh

Athanasiou — Dickinson — Entwistle

Blackwell — Khaira — Johnson

McCabe — S. Jones

Tinordi — Murphy

Johnson — C. Jones



Panarin — Zibanejad — Goodrow

Lafreniere — Chytil — Kakko

Krieder — Trocheck — Vesey

Kravtsov — Brodzinski — Blais

Lindgren — Fox

Miller — Trouba

Harpur — Schneider


How to watch

When: 6:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago


Radio: WGN 720

Live stream: Sling TV