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.

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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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Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other teams skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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