The Chicago Blackhawks (5-10) are back at it tonight, fresh off a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators yesterday afternoon. In come the Buffalo Sabres (7-9-1), who are a bit below where many had them this season. Puck drop is at 6pm.
Previously on Blackhawks Hockey:
They were in it, but it was a slow start with a frantic push in the end. The Blackhawks, however, couldn’t get that full push of 60 minutes, even though they certainly had chances. To be fair though, the Predators also had a number of chances that didn’t find the back of the net.
Regardless, it’s a back-to-back game in a series that will see the Blackhawks play a lot of games that have a day–maybe two–in between.
Alluded to earlier, maybe it’s a good thing for consistency sake, but it’ll surely test the physical side of things, too.
Blackhawks – Sabres Look Back
Against Buffalo, the Blackhawks won one and lost one in overtime. Seth Jones had two goals in the January 17th 4-3 overtime win, including the overtime goal. They lost 4-3 on October 29th in Buffalo.
How to Watch and Listen
Today feels like a must-win, if there is such things during a rebuild. Head coach Luke Richardson talks often about the mental game and last season during this exact time, the Blackhawks were three games into what would become an eight-game losing streak.
Best Case/Worst Case/Final Verdict
Best Case – Chicago plays a full sixty and beats back a Buffalo squad that is underperforming by its standards
Worst Case – A slow start leads to another chase the leader game, where the Hawks fall to their fourth straight loss
Final Verdict – A rebuild is designed to put a team in a more favorable position to get high draft picks and help build for the future. But for fans, they’re brutal to watch because expectations are so low, they’re happy for even the tiniest morsel of success.
Chicago’s situation is different in that Connor Bedard is so electric that he makes it worth the pain of that rebuild and also embodies the hope that they will one day be contenders. So even though losses are expected, it’s contagious and can be mentally draining. Ask any franchise who has rebuilt for long stretches of time.
Their opponent tonight is one of those teams. Again, it’s not a “must-win” by any stretch of the imagination but tonight feels like a flashpoint moment of them needing to really push hard to get that win and change the conversation a bit. Corey Perry and Nick Foligno have worked hard to establish norms and expectations knowing there realities. A win over a Tage Thompson-less Buffalo Sabres squad would be a way to make good on it.
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