Chicago Blackhawks 22 pts (10-8-2)
Tampa Bay Lightning 32 pts (15-3-2)
6:30 p.m. CT
Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Radio: WGN 720 AM
CHI @ TBL
TBL @ CHI
Patrick Kane, 19
Steven Stamkos, 35
Artem Anisimov, 10
Nikita Kucherov, 17
Patrick Kane, 13
Steven Stamkos, 25
The Chicago Blackhawks have played better over the past few games with the offense and power play producing of late. However, the Hawks will get a major test tonight versus the NHL’s top team.
The Tampa Bay Lightning missed the playoffs last season mostly due to a ridiculous amount of injuries, but they are healthy now and scary good. They look even better through the first quarter of this season than did they did in 2014-15 when the lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Blackhawks.
Head coach Joel Quenneville will stick with the same lineup that earned wins over the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins last week. This means forward Tanner Kero and defensemen Michal Kempny and Jordan Oesterle will watch from the press box again.
On a fun note, Eddie Olczyk is with the team in Tampa Bay and will be in the broadcast booth with Pat Foley tonight. He will be in studio for Saturday night’s game at the Florida Panthers. The broadcasts are always better when Edzo is a part of them!
The Bolts come into tonight’s game averaging 4.0 goals per game, so it should not come as a surprise that they also have the NHL’s top power play at 28.0%. The Blackhawks have the fourth overall ranked penalty kill and they are third on the road giving up just four power play goals on 41 chances away from the United Center.
As good as the penalty kill has been this season, it will still be key to stay out of the penalty box with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov lurking on the other side of the ice. The pair have combined for 10 goals and 28 power play points this season.
The Lightning have won the last five regular season matchups with the Blackhawks in Tampa, including a 5-4 overtime win last March after the Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-1 lead.
Probable Blackhawks Lineup
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Ryan Hartman - Alex DeBrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden
Duncan Keith - Cody Franson
Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
Corey Crawford (9-7-0, 2.19 GAA, .933 save %, 2 SO)
RW-Marian Hossa (skin infection) out, RW-Jordan Tootoo (upper-body) out, D-Michal Rozsival (upper-body) out
Probable Lightning Lineup
Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - J.T. Brown
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr
Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Dan Girardi
Andrei Vasilevskiy (14-2-1, 2.34 GAA, .928 save %, 1 SO)
D-Jake Dotchin (undisclosed) day-to-day