It is a very tough weekend in the Central for the Chicago Blackhawks

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks have been a pretty good team since firing Jeremy Colliton and hiring Derek King. They have been a bubble-level team since the change but that won’t make up ground in the NHL. They are playing at the level that we projected them to play before the season started but they are way out of it because of the horrid start to the season.

Not only have they not made up any ground, but they have also lost ground. They need to play significantly better than a bubble team in order to get back in the race. They have some pieces at the top of their lineup that can do the job but it needs to come now or never.

It all starts on Friday night with a tilt at home against the Nashville Predators. This Nashville team is amazing compared to the early season projections. They come into Chicago tied with the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division.

Juuse Saros is one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League. He will be in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy by the end of the season. The Hawks need to create traffic and high danger chances in order to beat this guy.

They also have Roman Josi who is a Norris Trophy candidate again on the back end. He is supported by forwards having outstanding seasons in Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen. It is a very nice mix of size, skill, youth, and veterans that the Hawks will be dealing with.

The Chicago Blackhawks have two really tough games to play this weekend.

After a tough matchup like that, they have to fly south to play the Dallas Stars in a back-to-back situation. That is never easy to do, especially with two good Central Division foes as the opponent. Dallas hasn’t had the same level of success as Nashville so far but they are still in the mix for a postseason spot, although it is unlikely.

Joe Pavelski is a studly veteran. Jason Robertson is an outstanding second-year player. They share the Dallas scoring lead with 21 points apiece. Roope Hintz is third in scoring with 18 points and 11 of his points are goals. These are three very good forwards to keep an eye on along with the likes of the usual suspects of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

They get really good goaltending from Jake Oettinger and Braden Holtby so creating those high danger chances is a must again. Miro Heiskanen and Ryan Suter lead the way on defense to round out a pretty good stars team.

The Hawks would need their best to win these games. It isn’t ideal to play against two tough division rivals in a back-to-back with travel but it is what it is. Hopefully, they can take care of their business at home and on the road.

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