Blackhawks week ahead: First back-to-back; Wild, Predators visit United Center

Our weekly look at the Blackhawks’ schedule.

The Chicago Blackhawks hit the road for the first time this season with two games in Canada before hosting two Central Division rivals in Chicago.

Chicago starts the week with a back-to-back at Toronto and Montreal on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Both games will see a dip in viewing at the start as the Chicago Cubs are set to play Games 3 and 4 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals on both nights at Wrigley Field. In addition to the Cubs game Monday, the Chicago Bears host NFC Central Division rival Minnesota with this year’s No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky making his regular-season debut at quarterback.

After an off day Wednesday, the Hawks head home to host Minnesota on Thursday. If necessary, the Cubs and Nationals will play a winner-take-all Game 5 of the NLDS on the same night in Washington. Chicago then looks for revenge against Nashville, who swept the Hawks in the first round of the last year’s playoffs, on Saturday. If the Cubs advance, they’d play Game 2 of the NL Championship Series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers or host the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Let's take a look at the upcoming week in Blackhawks’ hockey (all times Central):

Monday - Blackhawks at Maple Leafs, 6 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago, NHLN)

Each team have identical starts through two games with a 2-0 record and 15 total goals. The difference comes at the other end of the ice as Corey Crawford has given up two goals while the Leafs have allowed seven, including five against the New York Rangers. Anton Forsberg will make his first regular-season start in net for Chicago.

Central Division: COL at BOS, STL at NYI, WPG at EDM

Around the NHL: NJ at BUF, WSH at TB, CGY at ANA

Tuesday - Blackhawks at Canadiens, 6:30 p.m. (NBC Sports)

Chicago faces its first back-to-back of the season when it heads north from Toronto to Montreal. Crawford will be back in net in front of his hometown, where he is 7-0-2 with a .951 save percentage and 1.55 goals-against average.

NBC Sports will air Vegas’ first home game in franchise history against Coyotes.

Central Division: STL at NYR, PHI at NSH, DET at DAL

Around the NHL: CBJ at CAR, OTT at VAN, ARI at VGK

Wednesday - Idle

The Hawks get an off day to travel back to Chicago. The only national game is NBC Sports’ favorite “Rivalry Night” game with Pittsburgh and Washington.

Central Division: BOS at COL

Around the NHL: NJ at TOR, PITT at WSH, NYI at ANA, CGY at LA

Thursday - Wild at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago)

The Hawks host Minnesota for their first Central Division matchup this season. Minnesota fell 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs to St. Louis last spring, but haven’t changed much. The Wild, a 106-point team from a season ago, traded Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella and a 2018 fourth-round pick to Buffalo for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and a 2018 third-round pick. They also added Martin Hanzal on a three-year deal and locked up Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund for five and three years, respectively. Minnesota is a favorite to not only win the Central Division, but make a deep playoff run.

Central Division: STL at FLA, DAL at NSH, WPG at VAN

Around the NHL: PITT at TB, DET at ARI, BUF at SJ

Friday - Idle

Columbus host the New York Rangers in a game televised on NHL Network.

Central Division: ANA at COL

Around the NHL: WSH at NJ, NYR at CBJ, OTT at CGY, DET at VGK

Saturday - Predators at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. (WGN)

Chicago hosts Nashville in a playoff rematch from last spring. The Predators swept the Hawks in the first round behind the performance of goaltender Pekka Rinne, who only allowed three goals — all in Nashville. The reigning Western Conference champions prized acquisition this offseason was Nick Bonino in free agency after he defeated the Predators in the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville lost Mike Fisher to retirement and James Neal, a three-time 20-goal scorer with the Predators, to Vegas in the expansion draft.

The Leafs visit Montreal in a game on NHL Network.

IceHogs: Iowa (Wild) at Rockford, 6 p.m.

Central Division: CAR at WPG, STL at TB, COL at DAL, CBJ at MINN

Around the NHL: TOR at MTL, NJ at NYR, WSH at PHI, FLA at PITT, BOS at ARI, CGY at VAN, OTT at EDM, BUF at LA, NYI at SJ

Sunday - Idle

If there are NHL games, but none of them are nationally broadcasted do they really happen? That’s the case Sunday as all three games will only be shown in local markets.

IceHogs: Milwaukee (Predators) at Rockford, 4 p.m.

Around the NHL: BOS at VGK, BUF at ANA, NYI at LA