The Blackhawks close out their eight-game homestand. It hasn’t been as successful as they had hoped, as they have gone 2-2-3.
The Blackhawks aren’t in panic mode, but they are concerned about their recent play. They’re coming off a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday and a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday. They were tied 1-1 with the Avalanche in the third period before allowing three quick goals. Against the Bruins, the Blackhawks were trailing by one in the second period before Boston went off for four consecutive goals.
The Blackhawks trail the Nashville Predators by 12 points and the St. Louis Blues by five points in the Central Division. They lead the Winnipeg Jets by four points and the Minnesota Wild by six points.
The Panthers have put themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They’re 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and trail the Boston Bruins by three points for the final wildcard spot.
Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya is expected to miss a few weeks with an upper-body injury. He was injured on Sunday.
The Blackhawks’ lines are expected to be Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp – Brad Richards – Kane, Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith. The defenseman pairings are expected to be Duncan Keith – David Rundblad, Niklas Hjalmarsson – Brent Seabrook, Kyle Cumiskey – Michal Rozsival.