How to watch
Start time: 6:00 PM EST / 3:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), RDS (French)
In the US: NHL Network
In the Blackhawks region: NBCSCH
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/Rogers NHL Live
There was a time, not so long ago, when the Chicago Blackhawks were among the greatest teams in the sports world. Corey Crawford was going about his business, doing what was required of him to keep his team winning. Duncan Keith was a perennial Norris Trophy contender with a solid supporting cast around him on the blue line. Up front, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane went from high draft picks to NHL superstars, leading the club to three Stanley Cup wins over a six-year span.
Those four players are still on the team, but the Blackhawks’ modern dynasty is over. Swept in the first round in 2017, they failed to make the post-season last year after finishing last in the Central Division. Now, they sit last in the entire NHL.
Chicago is the only team with fewer than 10 wins, and they’ve played more games than most other teams. When the post-season begins in April, they will very likely be on the outisde looking in once again.
Tale of the Tape
|1-1-0||H2H Record (17-18)||1-1-0|
|53.8% (4th)||Corsi-for pct.||50.8% (13th)|
|3.14 (12th)||Goals per game||2.73 (25th)|
|3.17 (20th)||Goals against per game||3.70 (30th)|
|14.1% (28th)||PP%||11.5% (31st)|
|78.3% (18th)||PK%||73.3% (29th)|
Defensive play has been a major concern for the team. Expensive deals for some of the players who helped them win championships in their glory days have forced many players out and shrunk the pool of funds available to build around those who remain.
Only the woeful Ottawa Senators, whom the Canadiens scored 10 goals upon over two games earlier in the week, have worse defensive numbers. Chicago gives up about one goal more per contest than they score, and that’s the recipe for their disaster of a season.
It’s been over a year since the Habs and ‘Hawks faced each other, wrapping up the previous season’s series on November 5, 2017. The Canadiens got a split with a 2-0 win on that day as Charlie Lindgren earned his first NHL shutout.
Jonathan Drouin had the game-winner, one of 13 goals he managed on the year. He’s already up to 10 in his second year in Montreal, performing very well alongside Max Domi, and the two must be looking forward to facing off against a team struggling as much defensively as Chicago. They had three points apiece on Tuesday night versus the Senators, and will be eager for a repeat performance.
Montreal’s defence wasn’t a whole lot better than what the Blackhawks have achieved during the month of November, but the emergence of Brett Kulak and the return of Shea Weber have turned things around in a big way. The team has allowed no more than three goals in any of the last seven games — a feat when compared to the four or five regularly given up earlier in the year — and allowed just two in four of their last five contests.
Results are beginning to go in the Canadiens’ favour once again. There’s no reason to expect anything different from tonight’s game.