Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks get first look at Connor McDavid, visit Oilers tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks get first look at Connor McDavid, visit Oilers tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7:30 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. First look at Connor McDavid.

The Blackhawks missed out on seeing McDavid live in all three meetings against the Oilers last year because they occurred during a time he was recovering from a broken collarbone. And they may be catching him at a bad time — although there probably is never a right one. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick snapped a 10-game goal drought by netting his first career NHL hat trick in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. He's got a hot stick, and you can also count on McDavid handling the defensive responsibility of trying to slow down Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

2. Take advantage on special teams.

The Oilers are 0-for-15 on the power play over their last six games, and have allowed five goals on the man advantage during their last 23 penalty kills, only a 78.3 percent success rate. They're struggling in that aspect while the Blackhawks are beginning to feel good about themselves after a recent power play drought was snapped in a 3-2 win over Calgary on Friday, when they also killed off all five penalties.

3. Play till the end, again.

Unlike their last opponent in Vancouver, the Oilers are used to jumping out to a quick start as they are tied for second in first-period goals this season with 20. After falling behind 3-0 to the Canucks on Saturday night, the Blackhawks rallied to score three unanswered goals in the third period and capped it off with a 4-3 victory in overtime. They now rank tied for third with 23 third-period goals, and own the fourth-best win percentage (37.5) when trailing after two periods. It could have been an easy time to pack it in during a busy stretch in the schedule, but the Blackhawks stole two points and that could make all the difference in the world when deciding a playoff seed.

4. Brace yourselves.

The Oilers have delivered 479 hits this season, which ranks No. 6, while the Blackhawks rank No. 29 in hits with 288. It's not the Blackhawks' style to be physical, but if they need to be, they will. Expect the Oilers to try and use that to their advantage and knock the Blackhawks off their game.

5. Same lineup?

The Blackhawks made several lineup changes in Vancouver partly because it was the second of a back-to-back, but also because guys like Tyler Motte and Vinnie Hinostroza were cleared to return from their respective injuries. Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo were healthy scratches up front, and could find themselves watching from the press box again tonight considering Joel Quenneville doesn't like to mess with a winning lineup too much, if at all. Michal Rozsival will probably draw out of the lineup for Gustav Forsling, who was a healthy scratch more-so because of a crowded blue line than his on-ice play. 

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

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