Preview/Game thread: Chicago Blackhawks at Vegas Golden Knights

  

Chicago Blackhawks (12–12–6) at Vegas Golden Knights (15–12–5)

9 p.m. CST
T-Mobile Arena
TV/Radio: NBCSN/WGN

Projected starting goaltenders

Chicago — Corey Crawford (6–7–2, .912 save percentage, 2.89 goals against average)
Vegas — Marc-Andre Fleury (6–6–2, .919 save percentage, 2.54 goals against average)

Team statistics

Power play
Chicago (15.7%, 24th)
Vegas (22.0%, eighth)

Penalty kill
Chicago (79.6%, 18th)
Vegas (84.0%, Tenth)

Shots for/against
Chicago (31.2, 18th; 36.1, 30th)
Vegas (33.6, 10th; 31.6, 17th)

Shooting percentage
Chicago (8.80%)
Vegas (8.40%)

Face off percentage
Chicago (49.0%, 22nd)
Vegas (50.3%, 14th)

Average height and weight
Chicago — 6-foot-1, 194 pounds
Vegas — 6-foot-2, 201 pounds

Projected lines and pairings

Chicago Blackhawks

Brandon Saad — Jonathan Toews —  Dominik Kubalik
Alex DeBrincat — Dylan Strome — Patrick Kane
Alexander Nylander— David Kampf —  Dylan Sikura
Ryan Carpenter — Kirby Dach — Zack Smith

Connor Murphy Erik Gustafsson
Calvin de Haan — Brent Seabrook
Dennis Gilbert — Adam Boqvist

Vegas Golden Knights

Brayden McNabb — Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore — Nicolas Hague
Jon Merrill Deryk Engelland

Analysis

The rollercoaster ride continues. After two wins in a row, the Blackhawks fell to the Arizona Coyotes in the shootout Sunday. The Blackhawks took a 3-1 lead after the first period. The lead evaporated in the second period and the third period and OT were scoreless. Robin Lehner has gone on record saying he hates the shootout and he does tend to struggle in them. Lehner’s issues continued against the Coyotes. Sadly, Lehner’s 44 save effort may be forgotten because of the end result.

Despite the loss, Jonathan Toews showed signs of coming out of his season-long slump. Toews had one goal and two assists in the Hawks’ loss to Arizona. It was Toews’ first multi-point game since November 16th against Nashville and only his third multi-point game of the season. The Blackhawks need more from their captain to sustain any success going forward. Another guy who is hopefully heating up is Alex Debrincat. Debrincat extended his scoring streak to three games and Patrick Kane got another point in the contest to increase his point total to 36.

The Blackhawks continue to make roster moves as the team recalled Matthew Highmore and Adam Boqvist from Rockford. Highmore and Boqvist join recently recalled Dylan Sikura at the NHL level. All three figure to have substantive roles going forward.

Chicago’s next opponent, the Vegas Golden Knights, figure to get back their goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from leave. Fleury had been out mourning the death of his father. It will be an emotional return to the ice for Fleury tonight. In their last contest, the Golden Knights were spanked by the New York Rangers 5—0, the loss snapped the Knights five-game point streak. If the Knights want to get back to their winning ways, they need their points leader Max Pacioretty back on the scoresheet. In his last two games, Pacioretty has been held scoreless.

Can the Blackhawks improve their Odds of winning in Vegas or will the Knights defend the Castle?

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Center Ice Forums Preview/Game thread: Chicago Blackhawks at Vegas Golden Knights

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