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Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Predictions For Tonight’s Game

By Gail Kauchak
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Oct 15, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg (43) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The last two games the Chicago Blackhawks have played have been tough to watch.  They were shut out 3-0 by the Philadelphia Flyers, and lost 4-1 the following night to the Washington Capitals.  The Capitals game was a better performance than the Flyers game, but the Hawks are struggling to score goals.  They are doing a lot of things right.  They are putting a lot of shots on net, but they can’t seem to finish.

The Hawks are dealing with chemistry and timing issues early on in the season.  But have faith Chicago Blackhawks fans; history is on our side.  The Hawks only lost 3 games in a row twice last season; once in late February, and again in April when they sputtered out of the regular season, actually losing 4 in a row.  Oh, but then they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

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There are a lot of new faces on the team this year, and there are going to be growing pains.  As fans, we have to be patient and look for the positives.  Because I believe this group is going places, starting with a win tonight against the winless Columbus Blue Jackets.  With that being said, here are three predictions for tonight’s game.

The Hawks will be hungry.  The Chicago Blackhawks have had slow starts in pretty much all their games so far.  Tonight should be an exception.  They are coming off 2 embarrassing losses from earlier in the week, and I think they will be ready to play in front of a loud and welcoming United Center crowd.  I expect them to come out strong and fast and ready to take the lead early.

Here are the line combinations from the Hawk’s morning skate.

Bickell with Toews and Hossa has some chemistry from previous years.  I don’t see Toews and Hossa being held quiet for much longer, and if Bicks keeps it simple, he could contribute to that.

Panarin-Anisimov-Kane.  Does much more even need to be said?  The Blackhawks only goal (Svedberg) in the last 2 games came with this line out on the ice.  They looked phenomenal in the Hawks 2 tilts against the New York Islanders.  The magic will continue.

Teravainen-Hinostroza-Garbutt.  Poor TT.  Why does he get stuck with all the duds?  And why is Hinostroza playing center instead of Teuvo?  Well, he is a young center on a try out; you might as well see what he’s got.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see TT spend some time on the top line tonight (swapped with Bicks).

Desjardins-Kruger-Shaw.  The ultimate grinder line that was so effective during last year’s playoffs.  I love this line!  With a few lineblending exceptions, they have been playing together most of the season thus far.  They looked especially good against Washington on Thursday night, playing a solid and energetic game.  Unless it helps another line, it’s a no-brainer to keep these guys together.

In short, the weapons are there.  The Blackhawks just need to come out and do what they do best.

The  power play will prevail.  The Chicago Blackhawks have pretty much picked up where they left off from last season on the power play.  Which isn’t so good.  In 5 games, they’ve had 17 power play attempts, and only converted on 2 (Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook).  In the last two contests, they’ve had 6 power play chances, and converted on absolutely none of them.

I don’t believe this can last very long, especially considering the talent they bring to the table.  As of last Thursday, the first power play unit consisted of Toews, Kane, Panarin, Shaw, and Keith.  The second unit includes Hossa, Teravainen, Anisimov, Seabrook, and Daley.

Good golly, how can you go wrong?!  By passing the puck too much and looking for the perfect lane, that’s how.  I’d like to see one of the youngsters break out of this rut and get it done tonight.  Either Panarin or Teravainen, I’m rooting for you!

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Brandon Saad is going to score a goal, and we will all be very sad.  It’s going to be really hard to see Brandon Saad wearing a different sweater, and actually trying to beat all his old teammates.  If it’s hard for us, just think about how hard this must be for him.  There will be a lot of emotions he will have to deal with in this one.  But Saad is a true professional, which is why we love him so much.  He currently is tied for the lead in goals on his team, with 3.  I predict he will score another goal tonight, probably on a breakaway.  And then everyone will cry, including Saad himself.

But remember Blackhawks fans, this is a business first and foremost.  The Chicago Blackhawks got Artem Anisimov as well as Marko Dano (who WILL be a part of the team at some point!) for Saad, so they came out on top in the deal.  Best of luck to you, Brandon Saad!

What do you think Chicago Blackhawks fans?  What are your predictions for tonight’s game?  Is it 7:30 yet?!

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