Blackhawks vs. Sabres: What to watch for

What should you be looking for as the Blackhawks hit the ice for their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres? Take a look.

The Chicago Blackhawks grabbed a pair of points in their season opener against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, stealing a 3-2 win in the shootout on the road. It took about 40 minutes for the team to get their legs under them, and at that point, it was all about Corey Crawford, who stole the show (and the win) for the road team. On Saturday night, the Blackhawks head to the United Center for their first home tilt of the year.

They'll be squaring off with a Buffalo Sabres team that is in a race, really against itself for the most part, for the No. 1 overall pick in next summer's NHL Entry Draft. While the Hawks should dispatch of the Sabres with ease, there are still some things to keep a look out for as they hit the ice at the Madhouse:

Patrick Kane

It's always intriguing to watch the Blackhawks' superstar match up against his hometown club, whether at home or on the road. This time, it'll be without the nonsensical speculation relating to whether or not we'll see Kane bolt for his hometown when his contract is up, or Kane-for-Miller, given that he'll be in Chicago for at least the next decade. Nonetheless, Kane always seems to do something noteworthy when matching up against the Sabres. He has seven points in eight career games against them, including four goals.

Also, last year he did this:

He had a solid game against the Stars, with strong possession numbers despite only one assist on the stat sheet. Look for him to star against the Sabres.

Penalties/Penalty Kill

The Hawks' penalty kill actually looked competent against Dallas on Thursday night. Some of it was due to luck, a lot of the rest was due to Corey Crawford. Nonetheless, a very potent Stars power play unit was held in check, allowing just a goal despite a parade that saw the team spend 14 minutes in the sin bin. That's something that's absolutely going to have to change, obviously, moving forward.

That may have a direct effect on how the lines are deployed as well. Much has been made about how top heavy, both up front and on defense, the Hawks were in that first game, and with good reason, given Joel Quenneville's tendencies. He attributed the fact that guys like David Rundblad and Jeremy Morin saw so little time due to the penalty situation, even saying that Morin's lack of time wasn't due to his awful cross-checking penalty, but due to the overall time shorthanded. It'll be interesting to see how much truth is in that if the Hawks can stay out of the box.

Home Cookin'

The Blackhawks start their home season on Saturday night, where they finished with the third best record in the Western Conference last year, at 27-7-7. Of their 261 total goals last year, 140 came at the Madhouse against just 92 allowed. A tilt against the lowly Sabres is a perfect way to start off a path toward the same type of success, although their pair of matchups against Buffalo last year produced a combined 4-2 score, hardly a representation of the talent present on each club. Here's hoping they don't overlook their opponent and put on the show expected at the United Center on Saturday night.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.