Chicago Blackhawks regular-season hockey finally returns tonight. The team opens the 2021-22 campaign in Colorado as they take on the Avalanche at 9 PM CT.
Following Blackhawks morning skate, head coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed the team’s starting goaltender and which players will sit out.
As expected, Marc-Andre Fleury will be Chicago’s starting goalie. The 36-year-old is coming off a Vezina Trophy-winning season with Vegas in 2021. In 36 games of the pandemic-shortened campaign, Fleury posted a career-high .928 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average, also a career-best figure.
As for the skaters in front of Fleury, forwards Adam Gaudette and Dylan Strome and defenseman Erik Gustafsson will not be among the group. The three aforementioned names are tonight’s healthy scratches. The Blackhawks are reportedly looking to move Strome in a trade, and Gustafsson is awaiting clearance on his immigration status.
Knowing those omissions from the opening night lineup, here’s what the Blackhawks lines and pairings may look like when they take the ice in Colorado:
First Line: Alex DeBrincat-Tyler Johnson-Patrick Kane
Second Line: Dominik Kubalik-Jonathan-Toews-Philipp Kurashev
Third Line: Henrik Borgstrom-Kirby Dach-Brandon Hagel
Fourth Line: Jujhar Khaira-MacKenzie Entwistle-Ryan Carpenter
First Pair: Jake McCabe-Connor Murphy
Second Pair: Calvin de Haan-Seth Jones
Third Pair: Riley Stillman-Ian Mitchell
Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury — Kevin Lankinen (backup)