Blackhawks News

Short-Term Schedule In Favor Of Chicago Blackhawks

By Skylar Peters

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a smooth start to their 2014-15 season, putting up a 2-0-1 record in their first three games of the year. If not for a remarkable performance by Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller, Chicago could easily be undefeated. The Blackhawks are no strangers to hot starts, and although dreams of another ‘streak’ are still alive, even realistically, the ‘Hawks’ stars are lining up, when taking a look at their schedule in the next month.

The ‘Hawks take the ice next against the Nashville Predators, a team that gave them trouble in 2014-15, and did improve over the off-season. Barring another blowout at the United Center, Chicago should win, and improve to 3-0-1.

After that game comes another two full days of rest, before the Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers in a rematch of the 2010 Stanley Cup final. The Eastern Conference is drawing closer to the Western Conference compared to last season, but ever since Patrick Kane snuck that puck by Michael Leighton (who now plays in the Blackhawks’ system), Chicago has had their number. Expect another 2 points.

Two days later it’s another match-up against the Predators, this time from the Music City. It won’t be an easy point to steal on the road, but expect the ‘Hawks to at least get into extra time. It’s certainly a winnable game, although it may be the teams’ toughest challenge to date.

The Blackhawks’ first true heavy-weight battle comes against the St. Louis Blues the following Saturday, a rematch of last season’s quarter-final series. Both teams are improved up the middle, and this game could truly go either way. Consider it a steal if the Blackhawks earn these two points on the road, but it can be done.

The second half of the first back-to-back this season comes against the Ottawa Senators the next night, back at the United Center. Ottawa is off to a commendable start to the season, but with limited depth up the middle and shaky goaltending, the ‘Hawks offense should have no trouble putting up the goals. With Annti Raanta likely in net for this one, it will be up to the youngster to earn the win in what will likely be his first action of the regular season.

The Blackhawks face another challenge two days later, as the Anaheim Ducks come to town for their first meeting of the season. The Ducks have had the Blackhawks’ number, even at home, and this may be an even tougher game than that against the Blues. Again, this could go either way.

Finally, the ‘Hawks close out the month of October with another date against the Sens, this time at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Beating any team on the road certainly won’t be as easy as winning at the U.C., but with Corey Crawford the likely starter here, the Blackhawks will certainly have the odds in their favour.

All of a sudden, it’s November, and the Blackhawks could be 7-1-2, 8-0-2, or even 9-0-1. It is the NHL after all, and anything can happen, but the way things are looking at the moment, you can expect the Chicago Blackhawks to be among the league’s best come November.

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