Blackhawks

Patrick Kane, several other Blackhawks return to practice facility

Patrick Kane, several other Blackhawks return to practice facility

Several Blackhawks players returned to the team's practice facility, Fifth Third Arena, in Chicago on Wednesday for voluntary workouts in conjunction with Phase 2 of the NHL's Return To Play plan.

It was the first time any player has set foot in the arena since the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12.

Photos of forwards Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Alex Nylander, plus goalie Malcolm Subban all making their way into the rink wearing masks and carrying gear were posted by the Blackhawks' Instagram account along with the announcement. 

Teams were allowed to open up their practice facilities beginning Monday for a maximum of six players, with limited staff, to hold small group workouts on a voluntary basis. The players are required to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and to wear masks when entering and leaving the facility and at times when social distancing isn't possible. 

It was recently reported that team training camps to lead up to the 24-team postseason format wouldn't begin ahead of July 10. Under the format, the Blackhawks are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in round.

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2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Blackhawks-Golden Knights full first-round schedule

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Blackhawks-Golden Knights full first-round schedule

The Blackhawks will open the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. CT. You can catch the action on NBC Sports Chicago, starting with Pregame Live at 9 p.m.

The Blackhawks are 1-6-2 all-time against the Golden Knights, who won two of the three matchups this season. The two teams will square off in a best-of-seven series after the Blackhawks eliminated the Edmonton Oilers in four games of the qualifying round to secure the No. 8 seed while the Golden Knights won all three round-robin games to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Check out the full first-round schedule below:

Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 9:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 4:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. (NBC)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
*Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 18: TBD (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
*Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 20: TBD (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
*Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 22: TBD (NBC Sports Chicago and live stream on MyTeams app)
*If necessary

As the lower seed, the Blackhawks are slated to be the home team for Games 3, 4 and 6. As the higher seed, the Golden Knights will be the home team for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.

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Golden Knights All-Star Max Pacioretty expected to return for Game 1 vs. Blackhawks

Golden Knights All-Star Max Pacioretty expected to return for Game 1 vs. Blackhawks

The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to get a major boost going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After suffering a minor injury during Phase 3 of formal training camps that forced him to miss all three round-robin games, Max Pacioretty is "in the bubble" of Edmonton and should be ready to go for Game 1 of the first round against the Blackhawks. He completed his mandatory quarantine and will practice with the team on Monday, head coach Pete DeBoer said.

A six-time 30-goal scorer, Pacioretty led the Golden Knights in the regular season with 32 goals and 66 points. He participated in the NHL All-Star Game in January for the first time in his career and was the lone representative for Vegas.

Expect Pacioretty to play on the first line with Mark Stone. When the two of them were on the ice together at even strength this season, the Golden Knights controlled 60.6 percent of the shot attempts, 64.8 percent of the scoring chances and had a goal differential of plus-18, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The Golden Knights were already a deep team. And they just got even more dangerous with the return of Pacioretty.

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