Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Predators tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Predators tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Who's in and who's out?

The Blackhawks are getting hit by the injury bug all at once, but they overcame it in Friday's 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders. Tonight could be more difficult against a hot Predators team in their building. and the second of a back-to-back. Joel Quenneville said after yesterday's game that Artem Anisimov (lower-body injury) and Nick Schmaltz (illness) "could play" tonight, and just getting one back would be a boost and help balance out the lines. The Blackhawks were forced to start Tanner Kero at second line center in between Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane, a spot Schmaltz thrived in after Anisimov left Wednesday's game early.

Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper-body) and newly-acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya (ankle/conditioning) remain out of the lineup, and are aiming to return next week.

2. Is Artemi Panarin past his slump?

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been on fire over the past month, as has been the top line, spearheading the Blackhawks to an 11-1-0 record in their last 12 games. It's hidden the recent scoring slump of Panarin, who had just two goals in his last 20 games entering Friday's game. He broke through in a big way, by burying a one-timer with 1:14 left in regulation to tie the game and netting the game-winner in the shootout. It's a huge confidence boost for the Russian winger, and perhaps it will open the floodgates.

3. Duncan Keith and P.K. Subban.

These two are among the best and most entertaining defensemen in the NHL, and both play important roles on their clubs. Keith ranks fourth among all blue liners with 39 assists and 44 points, logging 25:53 of ice time per game. Subban is tied for ninth among defensemen with 0.65 points per game, and is a key factor on the power play for the Predators with 12 of his 31 points coming on the man advantage.

4. How will Corey Crawford respond to second game in two days?

After it was announced that Scott Darling will miss the next three weeks with an upper-body injury, a source telling Insider Tracey Myers that it's his hand, Crawford might have a heavy slate coming up. Darling probably would have gotten one of these past two, but it's likely going to be Crawford again in a divisional game — although Quenneville did not provide a clear-cut answer yesterday.

If, in fact, Crawford is between the pipes, it will be his first time starting two games in as many days since December 2015. Considering he's started in only four games the last 22 days — due to the Blackhawks' bye week and an illness that sidelined him for another week — there shouldn't be any concern about fatigue. He's fresh, and coming off a terrific performance in which he stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 shootout win.

5. It's raining hat tricks.

In the past 12 days, Filip Forsberg, Kane and Toews have combined for five hat tricks, with a pair each by the Predators 22-year-old forward and reigning Hart Trophy winner. Forsberg had back-to-back three-goal games a week and a half ago, while Kane followed up Toews' three-goal, five-point night with a hat trick of his own, and another on Wednesday. Could we see another one tonight?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Potential problems in the NHL bubble?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Potential problems in the NHL bubble?

Gordon Wittenmyer, Scott King and Nick Shepkowski join Kap on a Thursday edition of STL.

0:00 - MLB teams continue their preparations for the 2020 season. So, is there hope that the league has finally gotten past its testing issues?

4:00 - A hospital in Edmonton had to close its doors because of a COVID-19 outbreak. That city is expected to host one of the NHL’s bubbles. Should the league be concerned?

8:30 - Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel joins Kap. Will we have major college football in the fall? And will the NFL be able to play through the pandemic?

19:30 - The panel weighs in on the possibility of major college football this fall.

Listen here or below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast



Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook practices for first time since surgeries

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook practices for first time since surgeries

On Thursday, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook joined the team for voluntary small-group workouts — under the NHL's Return To Play plan guidelines — at Fifth Third Arena.

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Nice to Seabs ya back on the ice Brent 👀

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The Hawks are scheduled to begin their training camp for the league's 24-team playoffs at Fifth Third, their practice facility, on Monday before taking on the Oilers in Edmonton beginning Aug. 1 in a best-of-five play-in series.

Related: If Seabrook returns, where does he fit in Blackhawks' postseason lineup?

The three-time Stanley Cup champion had surgeries on his right shoulder in December, left hip in January and right hip February. Thursday marked his first practice with the team since the surgeries.

On Saturday, The Athletic reported the blueliner wanted to suit up for this year's camp and postseason. 

Seabrook last played December 15 in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.

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