NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
A couple of Central Division teams headed in opposite directions meet in the third of four regular-season matchups. The Avalanche have won the first two and, despite coming off a loss, enter this game having won eight of their last 10 (8-1-1), including those two games against Chicago back on Nov. 29 and 30. Colorado is on the right track towards a third straight playoff appearance, while the Blackhawks sit last in the division and may miss the postseason for a third consecutive year.
Perhaps overshadowed by Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand, Nathan MacKinnon is having another MVP caliber season. The 24-year- old No. 1 pick in 2013 is improving his totals each year:
Patrick Kane is once again pacing the Hawks in goals (18) and points (40) this season (he’s led Chicago in points each of the last four seasons and goals three of the last four years). Kane also scored two games ago at St. Louis, so he enters this game with four goals in the last two games and is on pace for a second straight 40-goal season (on pace for 43 after he had 44 last year…career high is 46 in 2015-16).
Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner have split time in net this season, exactly, with each starting 17 games. Chicago signed Lehner to a one-year deal this past offseason to help improve the position and alleviate some pressure off their starter. So far, Lehner, a Vezina finalist a season ago with the Islanders, could be on his way to seeing his number of starts increase.
Despite Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog returning, the Avs can’t seem to get fully healthy as defenseman Cale Makar recently hit the injury report. He’s missed the last four games with an upper-body injury. On top of this, Erik Johnson remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury, having last played on Nov. 23. Neither traveled for this road trip.
WHAT: Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks
WHERE: United Center
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Avalanche-Blackhawks stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Andre Burakovsky – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog – Nazem Kadri – Joonas Donskoi
Valeri Nichushkin – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Matt Calvert
Matt Nieto – Tyson Jost – J.T. Compher
Starting goalie: Philipp Grubauer
Starting goalie: Corey Crawford
Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones and NHL insider Darren Dreger. For the first time, NBC Sports will feature two ‘Inside-the-Glass’ commentators on this week’s Wednesday Night Hockey broadcast, as Eddie Olczyk will join analyst Brian Boucher to call the action from ice-level. John Forslund will handle play-by-play duties from United Center in Chicago, Ill.