clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks @ Pittsburgh Penguins 10/10/2023 - Lines, how to watch

Welcome back to Penguins hockey!

NHL: APR 11 Blackhawks at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back, Pens fans.

Who: Chicago Blackhawks (0-0-0, 0 points, Central Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (0-0-0, 0 points, Metropolitan Division)

When: 8:00pm E.T.

How to Watch: ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS

Opponent track: The “next Sidney Crosby” is facing off against the Original in his NHL debut. It’s an introduction to a new Chicago Blackhawks, with both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane now free agents (and Toews saying he’s taking time away from hockey again this season.) The Hawks are opening the era with an untested mix of new players with very little NHL experience and players nearing their second decade in the league. Only a few familiar faces, such as Seth Jones and Petr Mrazek, are returning from last season.

Pens’ path ahead: The first game of the season will present the first glimpse of answers to many questions percolating over the offseason: What will the Penguins’ bottom six look like? Will Erik Karlsson’s offensive prowess outshine his defensive flaws? How do Reilly Smith and Evgeni Malkin work together? Is the power play good yet? Can Tristan Jarry be relied on? Is Jake Guentzel healthy? Who is John Ludvig?

Season Series: The last matchup between these two teams was arguably the worst loss of last season, when the Penguins lost 5-2 in a must-win game to the heavily tanking Blackhawks.

Getting to know the Blackhawks

Projected Game Lines

(As seen in Chicago’s Monday practice)


Taylor Hall - Connor Bedard - Ryan Donato

Tyler Johnson - Lukas Reichel - Taylor Raddysh

Boris Katchouk - Cole Guttman - Andreas Athanasiou

Nick Foligno - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry


Alex Vlasic - Seth Jones

Kevin Korchinski - Connor Murphy

Jarred Tinordi - Wyatt Kaiser

Goalies: Petr Mrazek / Arvid Soderblom

Possible scratches: Mackenzie Entwistle, Reese Johnson, Joey Anderson

IR: Philipp Kurashev (left wrist), Colin Blackwell (lower body), Colton Dach (right ankle),

  • Beyond a first line featuring Bedard flanked by two veteran wingers, this is a center lineup full of giant question marks. Reichel and Guttman have a combined 48 games of NHL experience.
  • The fourth line, on the other hand, features a couple of names familiar to anyone who’s been watching the league for the last decade. Corey Perry could be skating in his 1,300th NHL game this season, and Nick Foligno is nearing 1,100.
  • Mrazek started 38 games last season and posted an uninspiring stat line of .894 SV% and 3.66 GAA behind one of the worst teams in the league. One of his 10 wins, of course, ended the Penguins’ 16-season postseason streak.

And now for the Pens...

Potential Game Lines

(As seen in Pittsburgh’s Monday practice)


Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Reilly Smith - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell

Jansen Harkins - Lars Eller - Drew O’Connor

Matt Nieto - Noel Acciari - Jeff Carter


Ryan Graves - Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson - Erik Karlsson

P.O. Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel

Goalies: Tristan Jarry, Alex Nedeljkovic

Potential scratches: John Ludvig, Ryan Shea

IR: Will Butcher

  • Jake Guentzel, who underwent ankle surgery in August and first joined a full practice with the team one week ago, will likely a game-time decision.
  • The Penguins showed off a new-look power play setup in Monday’s practice that put Letang on the second pairing, per the Tribune-Review’s Seth Rorabaugh. That leaves the two units as:

PP1: Crosby, Guentzel, Karlsson, Malkin, Rakell

PP2: Carter, Harkins, Letang, Rust, Smith

Whether they go with this setup in Game 1 will likely depend on Guentzel’s status.

  • You already know Karlsson is No. 65, but here’s a quick primer as to the other newbies: we’ll likely be seeing Smith (No. 19), Harkins (No. 43), Eller (No. 20), Nieto (No. 83), Acciari (No. 55) and Graves (No. 27) for the first time Tuesday night.