Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.
1. How will Blackhawks respond without Corey Crawford?
In a surprising turn of events, the Blackhawks placed Crawford on injured reserve Friday after he apparently suffered an injury during Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. He's 11-7-2 with a 2.29 goals against average, .930 save percentage and two shutouts in 21 appearances this season, and is certainly among the goaltenders in the early running for the Vezina Trophy, so it's a major blow that comes at a time where the Blackhawks were starting to roll.
The most difficult part to swallow is, despite Crawford's play, the Blackhawks still find themselves barely outside the playoff picture. They don't have much margin for error, so it will be interesting to see how the Blackhawks respond without arguably their most important player for at least one week.
Jean-Francois Berube was recalled to serve as the backup while Anton Forsberg takes over as the starter for the time being.
2. Can Alex DeBrincat carry over hot November into December?
History was made last month when DeBrincat scored the most goals (10) in a month in Blackhawks history, previously set by Murray Belfour (January 1960), Darryl Sutter (February 1981) and Steve Larmer (December 1982) with nine. He compiled 14 points in 13 games after recording just one goal and four assists in 12 games in October.
DeBrincat ranks fourth among all rookies with 19 points, trailing only Brock Boeser (25), Mathew Barzal (24) and Clayton Keller (21). Can the 19-year-old winger keep it up into December?
3. Bounce back game for power play?
The Blackhawks tied a season-high with seven power-play opportunities in Thursday's matchup against Dallas, but converted on just one of those. And it was the difference in the game.
With Crawford out, as mentioned above, the Blackhawks need to step up in other areas and the power play is the most notably one. They'll need to take advantage of every chance they can get.