Blackhawks News

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks to Wrap-Up Homestand Tonight against Philadelphia Flyers

By Brian Kinkade

The Chicago Blackhawks can make their first homestand of the 2014-2015 season a successful one or a merely solid one, tonight, as they face the Philade

Dec 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) is congratulated by his teammates for scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

lphia Flyers at the United Center.

You can watch tonight’s game on CSN-Chicago and you can listen to it on WGN 720 AM and 87.7 FM The Game.

The Flyers are off to a 1-2-2 start and while they aren’t a team that’s totally rebuilding, they are a team in a bit of a transitional period.  Still, the Flyers’ top-line of Claude Giroux, Michael Raffand Jakub Voracek is a very potent one.  The rest of Philadelphia’s lineup is a bit more brutish and physical.  Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn will try to be physical with the Hawks.  However, being physical alone doesn’t always work against the Hawks.  The Flyers blueline will be without veteran Kimmo Timmonen for likely the entire season, which leaves the Flyers blueline slightly vulnerable.  Mark Streit is solid but aging and Michael Del Zotto is a bit of a reclamation project that may or may not work out this season.

In net will likely be Steve Mason, for the Flyers.  Mason, the former Calder Trophy winner, has had an up and down career to say the least.  He’s off to a slow start this season, with a .865 Save Percentage in four games this season.

The Hawks can wrap up the homestand with a 3-0-1 record with a win tonight.  It’s not like a 3-1-1 or a 3-0-2 homestand would be terrible, but it wouldn’t exactly be great, considering that expectations for the Hawks are as high as can be.  Kris Versteeg will make his season debut tonight and he will likely skate on the 3rd line with Brad Richards and Bryan Bickell.  The fourth line will likely consist of Marcus Kruger, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith, but we’ll wait to confirm, you know how Q is.  The top-six remains the same, with Jonathan Toews centering Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on the top-line and Andrew Shaw centering Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad on the second line.

The big shock is in net, where Antti Raanta will also be making his season debut as it was revealed that Corey Crawford is out with a day-to-day injury.

Tonight’s rematch of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals will be the first of two games between the Hawks and Flyers.  Let’s wrap-up this homestand the right way.

Go Hawks!