Tampa Bay Lightning @ Chicago Blackhawks

Welcome to the first game preview of 2023 for the Tampa Bay Lightning!

The Bolts are headed up North to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks in their first game in 2023. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. as Tampa Bay looks to win their fourth in a row.

This game is the first of a three-game road trip through the Central division, and the first of two meetings scheduled between Tampa Bay and Chicago this season. The Blackhawks sit at the bottom of the Central with an 8-24-4 record, while the Bolts occupy the third spot in the Atlantic with a 23-11-1 record going in.

Not much has gone right for Chicago so far this season, with little success to boast and whispers that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane could be traded by season’s end. On the flip side, the Bolts found a nice stride in the month of December, posting a 10-3 record thanks in part to the remarkable play of Brayden Point.

These teams clashed twice during the 2021-2022 regular season, with the Lightning collecting 3-goal wins in both affairs. On March 6, 2022, Victor Hedman netted two goals in a 6-3 rout. In the second meeting on April 1, 2022, Ross Colton stepped up with two goals en route to a 5-2 win. Given the success against the Blackhawks last season and the troubles they’ve endured so far this season, the Bolts should be amped up at a chance to keep their win streak alive.

On the injury front, Lightning LW Rudolfs Balcers is still sidelined with an upper-body injury. The Blackhawks will likely be without wingers MacKenzie Entwistle and Jujhar Khaira, both day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, NHL PowerPlay, ESPN+

Where to listen: Lightning Radio 24/7, 102.5 MHz-FM

United Center, Chicago, IL

January 3, 2023, 8:30 p.m.