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Here It Goes Again: Blackhawks vs. Lightning Preview

After four straight losses, the Blackhawks welcome the Lightning to Chicago.

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Chicago Blackhawks v Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning plays against the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Since Nov. 14, the Chicago Blackhawks are 2-19-1. There will be teams that lose 19 regulation games (or about that amount) this season. Judging by how Boston’s season is going, there may be teams that lose fewer than 19 games.

The Blackhawks have done it in a month and a half.

And now they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that’s played in the last three Stanley Cups — winning two — and currently sitting in third in the Atlantic Division, likely searching for more points in order to keep up. The Lightning are 23-11-1 this season, with the fourth-most goals in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning, as has become the norm over the past few seasons, are led in points by Nikita Kucherov (53 points including 13 goals), Steven Stamkos (41 points, 17 goals) and Brayden Point (37 points, 21 goals). A new addition to that trio is Mikhail Sergachev, who leads the Tampa Bay blue line in production with 29 points (6 G, 23 A).

Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be the Lightning starter, holding the net with a .921 save percentage. Backup Brian Elliott (yes, 37-year-old Brian Elliott is still in the league) has a .894 save percentage in nine starts.

Former Blackhawk Brandon Hagel continues to be successful this season, scoring 14 goals and 28 points on a 19.2 shooting percentage. The Blackhawks bet that he wouldn’t get as high of a shooting percentage as he did last year, and while they were correct, he does seem to just in general be an efficient shooter.

The Lightning remain a capable possession-driving squad, with the seventh-best expected goal mark at 5-on-5 this season (53.66 percent) and are the second-best high danger team, with a 57.94 percent mark.

Chicago will again have their hands full trying to get the puck, as the quest for Bedard continues.

Tank Hard for Bedard.

Let’s go IceHogs.

Tale of the Tape (statistics from this season)

Blackhawks — Statistic — Lightning

42.15% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 51.79% (9th)

40.85% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 53.66% (7th)

2.19 (32nd) — Goals per game — 3.57 (5th)

3.75 (29th) — Goals against per game — 2.89 (13th)

56.7% (1st) — Faceoffs — 50.1% (16th)

20.2% (22nd) — Power play — 27.6% (5th)

73.2% (24th) — Penalty kill — 82.3% (7th)

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

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.)