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More Heart, Less Attack: Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes Preview

The Hurricanes, one of the best teams in the NHL, host the Blackhawks after the holiday break

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NHL: NOV 14 Hurricanes at Blackhawks
Andreas Athanasiou of the Chicago Blackhawks plays the puck in NHL action against the Carolina Hurricanes
Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks resume their 2022-23 campaign on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, who come in with a 22-6-6 record, are first place in the Metropolitan Division and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.

The Blackhawks badly needed the holiday break, as they limped into late December and are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games. However, they did get a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets right before break. The Hurricanes may see the holiday break as a mere interruption of one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

And the Hurricanes aren’t even operating at full power. Max Pacioretty and Ondrej Kase, two offseason acquisitions, have played just one game for the Hurricanes combined. Jake Gardiner, who was expected to finally get back to playing NHL hockey for the first time since May 19, 2021, has yet to dress for the Hurricanes.

So far this season, the Hurricanes have scored 106 goals, an average of 3.06 per game that’s 20th in the league. What sets the Hurricanes up for success is they’ve allowed just 90 goals (2.65 per game) which is sixth in the league. That’s come while operating with a team save percentage of .905, as Antti Raanta and Frederick Andersen have struggled so far this season — both are under .900. Young goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov is doing the heavy lifting with a .928.

While the Hurricanes aren’t necessarily the highest scorers in the league, they are getting plenty of points from three players in particular. Martin Necas paces the team with 33 points, including 14 goals, Andrei Svechnikov leads the team with 18 goals (31 points) and Sebastian Aho is third with 27 points, including 11 goals.

Brent Burns, another offseason acquisition, is also paying off for the Hurricanes, as Burns is at 23 points, including four goals.

Additionally, the Hurricanes are one of the best possession teams in the league: first in expected goal share at 5-on-5 in the NHL at 58.9 percent, and second in 5-on-5 shot share at 58.40 percent. The Hurricanes are also getting their results with a 1.001 PDO at 5-on-5.

Expect Carolina to dominate the puck in this game, if they even let the Blackhawks touch it all.

Let’s go IceHogs.

Tale of the tape (statistics from this season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Hurricanes

42.11% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 60.03% (1st)

41.79% (30th) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 58.9% (1st)

2.34 (31st) — Goals per game — 3.06 (20th)

3.75 (29th) — Goals against per game — 2.65 (6th)

56.9% (1st) — Faceoffs — 52.7% (8th)

21.8% (18th) — Power play — 18% (27th)

71.0% (28th) — Penalty kill — 80.2% (12th)

How to watch

When: 6 p.m. CT

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh

TV: NBC Sports Chicago Plus

Radio: WGN 720

Live stream: Sling TV

(Quick note: The projected lineups will be part of another article that’ll run later in the day as part of a shift in how we handle previews here.)