The Blackhawks released their full television schedule for the 2018-19 season, and 51 of them will be aired on NBC Sports Chicago. Eleven of them will appear exclusively on national TV (NBC or NBCSN) while the remaining 20 will be on WGN.
For the second straight season, Blackhawks Pre/Postgame Live will air before and after all 82 contests and can be streamed on the NBC Sports app.
Here are our six highlights on the NBC Sports Chicago schedule this season with Pat Foley, Eddie Olczyk and Steve Konroyd on the hometown call (and, in case you missed it, here are five games to circle on national TV):
1. The early Blues — Oct. 6 at St. Louis at 7 p.m. and Oct. 13 vs. Chicago at 7:30
The Blackhawks might be feeling a little Blue early on. Four of their first 19 games of the season are against St. Louis, with two coming within the first week. No team was more active in the Western Conference than the Blues, who added four top-nine forwards and are getting a fifth back in Robby Fabbri, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury. Not a bad measuring stick for Game 2.
2. First look at John Tavares and Maple Leafs — Oct. 7 vs. Toronto at 6 p.m.
The biggest storyline of the offseason, bar none, was Tavares leaving the New York Islanders to sign a seven-year deal with the Maple Leafs, who immediately became one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. In fact, only the Tampa Bay Lightning (107.5) opened with better point total odds than Toronto (106.5), according to Bovada. And rightfully so. When you can line up Auston Matthews, Tavares and Nazem Kadri centering your first three lines with Mitch Marner and William Nylander also creating on the wings, they should be. So as soon as the Blackhawks are finished in St. Louis, they'll head back to Chicago for their much-anticipated home opener.
3. Quick home and home with Connor McDavid's Oilers — Oct. 28 vs. Edmonton at 5 p.m. and Nov. 1 at Edmonton at 8 p.m.
Any time you get a chance to watch the best player in the world entering the prime of his career in front of your eyes, you do it, especially when you factor in that he's already on track to be considered one of the greatest players of all time. Look no further than when McDavid had one of the best assists you'll ever see against Chicago last season, a spin-o-rama on two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith and former All-Star Brent Seabrook:
It will also be fun to watch Patrick Kane and McDavid share the same sheet of ice in a head-to-head battle of former Art Ross Trophy winners as the league's leading scorer, with Kane having won in 2016 and McDavid the last two seasons.
4. Vegas, baby! — Nov. 27 vs. Vegas at 7:30 p.m.
Who would've thought a few years ago that this would be a game to circle? Well, that's where we're at right now, and the Blackhawks will be welcoming the Western Conference champion Golden Knights to town and are still seeking their first win against the NHL's newest franchise after going 0-for-3 against them last season.
5. "Detroit Sucks!" — Feb. 10 vs. Detroit at 2 p.m.
This is the one time of year where those couple fans in the 300 level right in front of the press box who chant, "Detroit Sucks!" after puck drop, no matter the opponent, is acceptable. Maybe it's time to retire that anyways, but it's no secret fans still get up for the Blackhawks and Red Wings rivalry and it probably means more to Chicago because during Detroit's 25-year playoff streak the Red Wings basically had a stranglehold on the division. That hasn't been the case over the last decade as far as the successes of each franchise, but the Blackhawks still have a ways to go to catch Detroit's 11 Stanley Cups.
6. Final day drama? — April 6 at Nashville at 7 p.m.
It's debatable whether or not the Blackhawks did enough this offseason to vault back into a playoff spot, but that's certainly the expectation around the team. So given those expectations, there could be some final day drama when they visit the Predators, who will likely be battling for the No. 1 seed again while the Blackhawks look to avoid missing out on the postseason for the second straight year.
Check out the full broadcast schedule here: