Heading into a busy night (for the NHL; 16 games) on Tuesday the Blackhawks will look to shake things up with their line combinations. Playing the defending President's Cup Trophy winning Boston Bruins (a team the Hawks have already lost to this season) is no easy feat. The Bruins by many were looked at as a team that may take a step back this season in the midst of some key retirements as well as loses in free agency. Presently though there appears to be no cracks in said expectations being anything other than status quo as Boston is currently 5-0.
According to Charlie Roumeliotis, Blackhawks Insider for @NBCSChicago, the Blackhawks had the following line combinations and pairings at todays practice:
L1: Foligno - Bedard - T. Johnson
L2: Athanasiou - Reichel - Raddysh
L3: Kurashev - Dickinson - Perry
L4: Katchouk - Donato - R. Johnson
D1: Korchinski - Jones
D2: Vlasic - Murphy
D3: Tinordi - Kaiser
Some injury concerns and notes heading into tomorrow appear to be Taylor Hall (shoulder) being held out of practice today as well some concern that Philipp Kurashev (wrist) may be a game-time decision for coach Luke Richardson. This could certainly open things up not only for Connor Bedard to play with a new linemate, but also for some players to see extended ice time against the Bruins.
I for one am surprised to see the 3rd line be broken up, however it could be just due to the absence of Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno will rejoin his 3rd line cast for Tuesday night's tilt. Also of note, and increasingly being discussed amongst the media and fans, is that of Lukas Reichel sticking at center at the moment. While he hasn't played to his ability so far, I see no reason to not continue to see if this will be a longterm fit.
The Blackhawks, despite having Connor Bedard, are still a rebuilding team and this is still a season that is all about the development of their young players. If after the season it is clear that Reichel is best as a LW then we will unequivocally know that is the case. That is the benefit to a season with low expectations after all.
The 3 rookie blue liners are all paired with veterans per usual, but it is ineteresting to see Korchinski with Jones as both (maybe media created) appear to be in an early season battle for power play 1 ice time. Thus far, from my perspective, it does seem that Kevin Korchinski should be seeing the bulk of any minor / major penalty advantages. If his time with the NHL team is limited it would behoove the coaching staff to get him that time now so they can analyze his play on film (it's digital I know).
Either way you look at it, the Blackhawks have nothing to lose heading into tomorrow's matchup. At 2-4 Chicago could try and shuffle their lineup as they face a team they lost to in the first week of the season. I believe that after a solid effort against the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights the Blackhawks will give the Bruins all they can handle.
Prediction: Blackhawks 3 Bruins 2 (Final / OT)
You can visit Charlie on X @CRoumeliotis.