Blackhawks Schedule 2011: Chicago Gets A Taste Of The South

After a home game Monday, the Blackhawks are back on the road for a quick stroll through the Southeast Division. They'll return home Sunday to host the team that knocked them out of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.

There's plenty of southern flavor to the Blackhawks schedule this week; they'll host Nashville on Monday before a quick trip to Florida for games against Tampa Bay and the Florida Panthers.

Chicago begins the week on a positive note after dispatching Columbus on Saturday, but they'll have to play Monday's game against Nashville without forward Dan Carcillo, who will be serving the second of his two-game suspension for an illegal hit to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen last Friday.

The week in Blackhawks hockey:

Oct. 31: vs. Nashville (7:30 p.m. central on CSN)

The Predators are in second place behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division despite some lackluster offense. Goalie Pekka Rinne is off to a fine start and has a pair of shutouts to go with a .930 save percentage. He has started every game so far this season.

Nov. 3: @ Florida (6:30 p.m. central on CSN)

Chicago's first stop in Florida will be Miami to pay a visit to the Panthers. Kris Versteeg leads the 6-4-0 Panthers with 11 points, and the team has gotten solid production from goalies Jose Theodore and Jacob Markstrom.

Nov. 4: @ Tampa Bay (6:30 p.m. central on CSN and NHL Network)

The resurgent Lightning won 46 games a year ago and figure to be a contender in the Southeast Division again this season, at least if their defense cooperates. The offense has been no problem--they're fifth in the NHL in goals per game--but it's a different story at the other end. They've allowed five or more goals four times in 11 games and rank 24th overall in goals against average. Chicago's offense, which has been on par with Tampa's, could spell a bit of trouble.

Nov. 6: vs. Vancouver (6:00 p.m. central on WGN)

The Blackhawks return home to host the defending Western Conference champions, who may still be a little hungover from last season's Stanley Cup Finals. Not surprisingly, brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin pace Vancouver with 13 points apiece. Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider have more or less split time in goal, with Schneider the better of the two so far.

For more in-depth coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, be sure to visit Second City Hockey. For news and notes from around the NHL, head over to SB Nation NHL.

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