The Chicago Blackhawks will hope to make it two wins in a row when they take on the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.
The Blackhawks, who are coming off of a come-from-behind win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, improved their offensive production considerably in that game thanks to some clutch play from Alex DeBrincat, who had two goals and an assist, and thanks to an aggressive defensive attack, culminating in a Gustav Forsling tally that tied the game.
Even with that success, head coach Joel Quenneville hinted at some changes in his lineup for the game Sunday. Patrick Sharp, who has been alternating shifts on the third line in practice with John Hayden, could be a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks, who will be playing their third game in four nights when they hit the ice Sunday.
Without the benefit of a morning skate, it’s unclear how the Blackhawks will line up for the contest, but one could imagine that DeBrincat would skate more often with Patrick Kane after they proved to be an effective grouping during the game Saturday night. Their speed is very complimentary, and they will need it against a Devils team that occupies the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Corey Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks after he got the night off Saturday. The netminder has been one of the league’s best goaltenders in the early going, and has helped the Blackhawks to be one of the stingiest teams in the league in terms of giving up goals this season.
The Key: Generate Even Strength Chances
The Blackhawks have been tinkering a lot with their lineup in recent weeks, and they’re going to have to figure out something against a Devils team that has been solid both on the power play and on the penalty kill this season, ranking in the top 12 in the league in both categories.
The one area where the Blackhawks may be able to take advantage of New Jersey is indeed at even strength, as the Devils are giving up three goals per game this season. That ranks them 18th in the league, and although they aren’t putrid by any stretch, they have had some difficulties in keeping the puck out of the net.