Analysis

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs Blue Jackets 10/18

By Ryan Fedrau
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 14: Tomas Jurco #92 of the Edmonton Oilers watches for the puck against Brent Seabrook #7 and Olli Maatta #6 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at the United Center on October 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 14: Tomas Jurco #92 of the Edmonton Oilers watches for the puck against Brent Seabrook #7 and Olli Maatta #6 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at the United Center on October 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home.

The Chicago Blackhawks edged out a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. That was the team’s first win after three straight losses. Wednesday, the Blue Jackets beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 to improve to 3-3-0 on the season. Both teams are coming off of wins. Will the fans at the Madhouse on Madison be the difference for the Chicago Blackhawks?

Since the final horn sounded last Monday, the Blackhawks have been talked about a lot. Throughout social media, they have been brought up as a team to watch, even though they’re ranked 28th out of 31 NHL teams.

The Chicago Blackhawks have only played four games, giving them a record of 1-2-1, the three losses coming by one goal. They aren’t as bad as their record shows. They aren’t a 1-3 hockey team, they’re better. The Blackhawks have competed with all four teams this year so far, and there is nothing but more to expect going forward.

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The Blue Jackets have had a downturn since their sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They lost wingers Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene and goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky. All three players played a key role for last year’s team.

Panarin and Bobrovsky played key roles for the Blue Jackets for many years now. Losing them was a big blow to the star power the Blue Jackets had.

The Chicago Blackhawks have relied heavily on Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford in their 3-1 win against the Oilers. Kane has five points so far this season.

Crawford got his first win Monday, although he has given up 10 goals in three games. It will be crucial for him to build on his solid performance against the Oilers.

With the Blackhawks sitting at fifth in the Central Division, they’re going to have to continue the success they had against the Oilers into tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets.

Although Kane was somewhat quiet during the last two games, he has still been a major impact player for the Chicago Blackhawks. He added an assist during Monday’s game but stayed fairly quiet. I am expecting a breakout game for him. He is quietly racking up points, so a big game out of him against the Blue Jackets would go a long way in helping the Blackhawks secure the win.

Kane is currently the hottest player on the Chicago Blackhawks with Jonathan Toews being the coldest player. Normally, the names Kane and Toews go along with success, but Toews has struggled early this season.

Toews only has one point throughout the first four games. It’s very early still, but coming off of a season where he averaged almost a point-per-game, just one point in four games is disappointing.

The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have played well in their last four games. They are 3-1 with all games ending in one goal, something similar to the Blackhawks. Columbus has struggled on the road. They have given up nine goals and only scored five. They have a 1-1 road record, but they do not look the same on the road. That benefits the Blackhawks.

It’s not to say the Blue Jackets haven’t beaten anyone, it’s just they’ve struggled against teams that Chicago is better than. The Blackhawks are the easy favorite in this game and my pick to win.

After a great showing against the Oilers, there is no real reason to expect nothing but the same tonight. Kane will have a big night, most likely contributing with at least two points. Also, look for Toews to get back on the score sheet and help his team out.

The Chicago Blackhawks will be going with the same lineup that shut down Connor McDavid on Monday. The only change will be Robin Lehner in net.

If the Chicago Blackhawks play well on defense, they should take this one by multiple goals. It will be interesting to see what happens, but the Blackhawks are going in as the favorites (-145). The question that will be answered tonight is: can you really count on the Blackhawks’ defense?

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