Chicago Blackhawks: Starting the year on the right note is critical
By Jimmy Lynch
The Chicago Blackhawks 2020-21 season is about to start in two days, and the excitement is building.
No matter what the outcome will be in 2021, having the Chicago Blackhawks back for the season will be exciting. While the roster doesn’t look perfect, I am sure that the Blackhawks will provide fans with some fun hockey throughout the year.
While it is a stretch to have the Blackhawks in the playoffs in 2021, we have to show some signs of optimism. If the Blackhawks are going to have any shot at finishing within the top four of the Central Division, it starts on night one against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning are the team to beat within this new look central division, even if they are without one of their best players in Nikita Kucherov. Chicago will be fighting to get any points this season, and that starts on night one.
The Lightning will be raising their Stanley Cup banner when Chicago comes to town. This is great news for the Blackhawks, who could look to catch a team sleeping when the puck drops. If the Blackhawks do not have a good start of their year against the Lightning, then watch out because this is going to be a long year.
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Dropping the first two games of the year to the Lightning will put the Blackhawks at 0-2. Then Chicago hops on a bus to play the Florida Panthers for two games. Starting off the year with four games on the road might not be ideal during a normal year, but during a season where the same team will be faced multiple times in a row, that is the new normal.
While I do not think the Florida Panthers are the top team within the Central, they are an opponent that could be vying for one of the final playoff spots during the coming season. Chicago will want to put their best foot forward during a matchup against the Panthers. The Panthers’ first game of the season will actually be against the Blackhawks, adding an extra layer to the matchup.
Chicago will have already played in two games before the Panthers even drop the puck in their first matchup of the season. This could mean the Blackhawks might catch a few breaks against a team still fresh out of training camp, or it could mean the Panthers will be doing their best to impress on opening night.
This season is going to be rather interesting. With only 56 games, every matchup means that much more. For the Chicago Blackhawks, making sure the team wins a few of their first four matchups before heading back to the United Center to take on the Detroit Redwings will be crucial.