Blackhawks

Purdue presents a return to normalcy for Notre Dame

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Purdue presents a return to normalcy for Notre Dame

A week ago, Notre Dame was in Dublin, Ireland, preparing for their quarterback's NCAA debut against a team that runs an unorthodox offense. This Saturday, things return to normal for the Irish as they welcome Purdue to Notre Dame Stadium (2:30 p.m., NBC) for their home opener.

"It's going to be tremendous, man. It's going to be real crazy," quarterback Everett Golson said of Saturday's game. "Playing in Dublin, I guess my nerves were a little bit low because you didn't really know anybody in Dublin, or at least I didn't. Playing in front of 81,000 fans that you actually know, the nerves are still going to be there but I'm just going to stay calm and stay the course."

Golson got his first-game jitters out last week, and perhaps won't be under as large of a magnifying glass going forward. But the spotlight may continue to shine on Notre Dame's secondary, which struggled at times as Navy was forced to pass more than expected last weekend.

While Purdue won't start pocket-passing QB Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush -- who was suspended for Week 1 -- will still present a challenge through the air, at least compared to what Notre Dame prepared for against Navy.

"Defensively, we are now going to enter into a different plan," coach Brian Kelly said. "Now you go into your entire defensive mode and fronts and different coverages, nickel, dime, all that has to be worked through this week.

"I don't know if there's an alarm that I'm trying to set off relative to, hey, keep an eye on it, we're in big trouble here -- I don't believe in that. There were a lot of things we were not able to do defensively that were part of our plan that we need to get to work on."

The Irish are likely to see TerBush, Marve and Rob Henry under center, although linebacker and captain Manti Te'o doesn't see that rotation as being a potential headache.

"It doesn't make it difficult at all. Purdue does as Purdue does," Te'o said. "They'll line up and run Purdue plays. You look at the quarterback and their tendencies, you find out what's the best way to attack them."

Notre Dame's 50-10 win over Navy was one of the more impressive victories from around college football's opening weekend, but Kelly and his coaching staff will know a lot more about where the Irish stand after Week 2.

This isn't the same Purdue team Notre Dame pasted last year in West Lafayette -- they've improved, and they represent the next hurdle for the Irish to clear as they head into a few potentially season-defining contests against Michigan State and Michigan.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Corey Crawford vs. ... Oscar Dansk? 

The Golden Knights have seen both Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban go down with injuries, so they're scraping for goaltenders at this point.

On one end of the ice, you have one of the best netminders in the league and a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Crawford. On the other, you have a 23-year-old rookie in Dansk making his first official NHL start who will be backed up by a 24-year-old rookie in Maxime Lagace, who has never appeared in an NHL game.

In his first game action, Dansk stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis.

2. Fast start.

The Blackhawks are tied for second in both goals scored (13) and fewest goals allowed (four) in the first period, which has a large reason for their early season success.

The Golden Knights aren't the kind of team that gets out to a blazing start. They've allowed only five goals in the opening frame, but they've scored only five as well, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams in the league. 

3. Beware of James Neal.

The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games of their inaugural season. And they probably don't have half of those wins if it weren't for Neal, who scored the game-winning goal in each of their first three games.

He leads the club with six goals and eight points, and serves as the motor for a team that doesn't have much offensive talent. He's the go-to guy, and somebody you have to keep an eye on when he's on the ice.

 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. LeBron James will be on your television

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.

2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2

Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.

3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year

OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.