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Blackhawks vs. Flyers preview

Voracek playing in home country of Czech Republic for Philadelphia in Global Series; Crawford to start for Chicago

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

BLACKHAWKS (0-0-0) vs. FLYERS (0-0-0)

at O2 Arena (Prague, Czech Republic)



The Game

Jakub Voracek, who was born in the Czech Republic, will play his first NHL game in his home country when the Philadelphia Flyers play the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Global Series in Prague on Friday.

The game also will be the first with the Flyers for coach Alain Vigneault and center Kevin Hayes. Vigneault was hired April 15; Hayes was acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on June 3 and signed a seven-year contract June 19.

Defensemen Olli Maatta is expected to make his Blackhawks debut. He was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 15. Goalie Corey Crawford will start for Chicago ahead of Robin Lehner, who signed a one-year contract July 1.


Players to watch

Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat signed a three-year, $19.2 million contract extension ($6.4 million average annual value) on Thursday. He tied for sixth in the NHL last season with 41 goals.

Hayes had an NHL career-best 58 points (19 goals, 36 assists) in 71 games with the Jets and New York Rangers last season. He also has a familiarity with Vigneault from spending four seasons together with the Rangers.


They said it

"They've got some dynamic offensive talents that if we're not sharp defensively or in transition, we give them room to make plays, they're likely to make them. In that way it's a good test. We shouldn't have a problem having our players' attention." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton on the Flyers

"It's a regular-season game; it's not the preseason anymore. We have to find a way to win the game, and everybody knows that. Obviously a little bit different conditions here, but a game is a game. ... You want the two points, get home and kind of have that long layoff, those five days (off), on the winning side." -- Flyers forward Jakub Voracek


Blackhawks projected lineup

Alexander Nylander -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- Dylan Strome -- Andrew Shaw

Brandon Saad -- David Kampf -- Dominik Kubalik

Zack Smith -- Ryan Carpenter -- Drake Caggiula

Duncan Keith -- Erik Gustafsson

Olli Maatta -- Brent Seabrook

Slater Koekkoek -- Dennis Gilbert

Corey Crawford

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Brendan Perlini

Injured: Connor Murphy (groin), Kirby Dach (concussion), Calvin de Haan (groin)


Flyers projected lineup

Claude Giroux -- Kevin Hayes -- Jakub Voracek

Oskar Lindblom -- Sean Couturier -- Travis Konecny

Carsen Twarynski -- Scott Laughton -- James van Riemsdyk

Connor Bunnaman -- Michael Raffl -- Tyler Pitlick

Ivan Provorov -- Justin Braun

Robert Hagg -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim -- Matt Niskanen

Carter Hart

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Samuel Morin

Injured: Andy Welinski (lower body), Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder)


Status report

De Haan practiced Friday but was ruled out after the morning skate. ... Pitlick has been cleared to play. The forward had wrist surgery in late August and was expected to need 4-6 weeks to recover. 


Stat pack

Kane began last season with goals in three straight games en route to having a NHL career-high 110 points (44 goals, 66 assists). ... Voracek is second among active Czech Republic-born NHL players with 639 points (195 goals, 444 assists), behind Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (643 points).

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