The Chicago Blackhawks are in the middle of a five-game win streak. After a big 5-2 victory against the Jets, how well will the Blackhawks play at home against the returning Joel Quenneville?
The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t played against Joel Quenneville since he was the head coach of the Avalanche. That was back in 2008. It’s been a long time since he coached in the United Center against the Blackhawks. The question is, are fans emotionally ready to see Quenneville back behind another bench?
It will be weird at first. If he continues to coach for the next 5-10 seasons, it’ll become more normal. I really hope the Blackhawks made a really cool video package for Quenneville. He won the team three Stanley Cups. He deserves a lot from the fans and the front office.
Who has the edge?
The Blackhawks are on a hot streak right now but so are the Panthers. They’ve both won five straight games.
During the Blackhawks’ win-streak, it seems like they’ve scored easily. They have players on all four lines making a difference. This team is hard to beat.
The Blackhawks’ Penalty Kill has been outstanding as of late. They’re ranked sixth in the NHL. That cancels out the successful Panthers Power Play, which is also ranked sixth.
The Panthers have struggled on the Penalty Kill, which can help the Blackhawks improve their rough Power Play. Since the Panthers are number one in goals scored, they’ll have to take advantage of any chance they get.
The Panthers problem is, they can’t keep the puck out of their own net. They are ranked 25th in the league for goals against. This is a game where the Blackhawks’ sharp-shooters need to come alive and light the Panthers up.
During the last five games, Jonathan Toews has led the team in a great way. In those games, Toews leads the team in points with 11. Of course, Patrick Kane has played great too. He got his 1,000th career point on Sunday against the Jets.
Dominik Kubalik leads the team in goals with seven during the last five games.
Robin Lehner is likely the Blackhawks’ starter tonight. He is 15-7-4 as a starter this season. He has a 2.81 goals-against average. Lehner saves .924% of the shots coming at him.
The Panthers have relied on Mike Hoffman to lead them in the goal category. He has scored four goals during the last five games. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points with seven during the same stretch.
The Panthers are tricky to predict. They won a 5-4 game last night against the Wild. That win helped the Blackhawks in the standings. They’ve struggled in net though. Since their top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky played last night, chances are, the Panthers will start Sam Montembeault.
Montembeault is 4-2-1 as a starter this season. His goals-against average is 3.55. Montembeault’s save percentage is .888%. Though he has a winning record, the way the Blackhawks are playing is dangerous for him.
The Blackhawks are favored. It makes a lot of sense considering how well they’ve played as of late.
The over/under is 6.5 goals. During the last two games, the Blackhawks went over on the total. For people betting on this game, taking the over is a smart move.
We will see if the team can repeat another successful performance as they have as of late. They’re going to be challenged a lot against the Panthers. This will be an interesting test.