Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.
1. Can the first line keep rolling?
Nothing but good things have happened since Vinnie Hinostroza was put on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. They've spent four games together and have combined for 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists), helping the Blackhawks go 2-1-1 during that stretch.
Hinostroza has added an element of speed up front, which has certainly complemented the game's Toews and Saad like to play. When the latter two players are rolling, usually the Blackhawks are too so it's important for them to keep building off this success.
2. Tomas Jurco's season debut?
After putting together a solid first half of the season in Rockford, the Blackhawks recalled Jurco on Monday to see whether or not he can carry over that offensive production to the big club.
Jurco ranks second on the IceHogs with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists), and scored a goal in three of his last four games before getting brought up. Richard Panik drew back into the lineup on Sunday against Edmonton for John Hayden, who was sent down to Rockford, but Panik was underwhelming in only 10:53 of ice time. Expect Jurco to be subbed in for Panik on the fourth line tonight.
3. Banged-up Sens.
The Senators had a rough December, but January has been kind to them so far. They've picked up five out of a possible six points, and are coming off a big 6-3 win over Tampa Bay.
But they're fighting the injury bug right now. Nate Thompson has been ruled out tonight with a lower-body injury. Matt Duchene has the flu. Derick Brassard, Cody Ceci and Johnny Oduya are also all nursing injuries, as is Mark Borowiecki (concussion), who was cleared to practice and might return if they're shorthanded on defense.
Senators coach Guy Boucher told the media Monday morning that all of those players on the injury list mentioned above "could be all out and they could be all in." So it will likely be a gametime decision for each of them.