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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 3:25 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Avs need more from Stastny with Duchene out

CHICAGO -- The initial response to Matt Duchene's knee injury has been good for the Colorado Avalanche, who head into Friday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks on a roll.

The Avs are on a three-game winning streak and have an 8-1 record in their previous nine games. They've also won two in a row since Duchene went down with a knee injury early in a game on Dec. 29 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Duchene, who had been playing left wing on the top line, is expected to be out at least a month while recovering -- which means the Avs need that top line to produce while he's out.

"Every team faces injuries and it's how you respond and how your team responds to those injuries," Avs coach Joe Sacco said on Friday morning at the United Center. "You hope you have those guys who can step up in the meantime and be able to fill those roles."

For Colorado, those guys initially are T.J. Galiardi -- playing left wing next to Paul Stastny in Duchene's absence -- and David Jones, who was bumped from the third line to right wing on the top line for Friday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET).

Sacco likes what he's seen from Galiardi getting extended minutes in Duchene’s place and is eager to see what the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Jones -- who recently returned from an eight-game absence because of a groin injury -- can do around the net.

"For Jonesy, it's about winning 1-on-1 battles, getting to the front of the net, being physical on the forecheck and making sure he’s hard to play against," Sacco said. "When he does that, the offense can take care of itself. I'm hoping with a little more ice time on that (first) line and being able to generate some more offense, he could pop in some goals here or there for us around the front of the net."

Sacco also hopes that Jones and Galiardi can help the 26-year old Stastny -- the highest-paid Avalanche player -- get hot offensively. Stastny's been OK in the defensive zone, despite a minus-7 rating, but his 11 goals and 10 assists in 38 games are below what Sacco was expecting.

The Avs are back in playoff contention in the Western Conference with their recent hot spell, but will need Stastny and his new linemates to help second-liners like veteran Milan Hejduk and rookie Gabriel Landeskog carry the load with Duchene out.

"Offensively, he knows that we'd like to see some more production from him, and we know as a team that we need some more production from him offensively," Sacco said of Stastny. "We've been defending a lot better as a team and he's a big part of that. He does play 200 feet, but like I said, he knows we need some more offense from him and his line. We need some more from those guys."
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Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 2:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Avs on the verge of tying shootout record

CHICAGO -- The last time they were here, the Colorado Avalanche spoiled the Chicago Blackhawks' party to unveil statues for Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita on Oct. 22 with a 5-4 shootout win.

Joakim Lindstrom's wrist shot beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford in the third round, after Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped attempts by Viktor Stalberg, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. At that point, in less than a month's worth of games, the Avs had accrued a 3-0 record in shootouts.

A little more than two months later, that shootout record is now up to 7-0 for the season and up to 10 wins in a row dating back to last season -- which is one shootout win away from tying the 2005-06 Dallas Stars' League-record of 11 straight.

Why are the Avs so good at that portion of the game?

"It's a great question," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said, following the Avs' optional skate at United Center on Friday morning. "I'd like to say that it's because I pick the right guys, but that's certainly not it. I've used the same guys now for a while. We're just confident if we do get in those situations."

Veteran forward Milan Hejduk certainly plays a big role. He's usually the lead-off shooter for Sacco, and this season he's scored on five of his seven attempts in the shootout -- a success rate of 71.4 percent.

"That's pretty impressive," Sacco said. "He really sets the tone for the shootout. Then the guys that follow up feed off of that. It's just like anything else. When you're feeling good about yourself in certain situations, confidence overtakes that and I think that's where we're at with (shootouts)."

Hejduk agreed.

"Like everything else, it brings the confidence to even our regular game," said Hejduk, who has taken the first shot in all seven shootouts this season, including scoring to start Monday's 2-1 shootout win in Los Angeles. "We know if we can push it to overtime and then go to the shootout that we'll usually do fine. You're starting the shootout already with the confidence that more likely than not we'll probably win."

Scoring that first goal also might help the Avs' goalies gain a boost of confidence. Varlamov is 6-0 in shootouts this season, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere won the only one he's been in so far.

"You'd have to ask the goalies, but maybe that makes them relax a little bit more,” Hejduk told NHL.com. "We are scoring some goals and the goalies are playing well. That's probably been the difference, is goaltending. It only takes one or two goals for us to win."
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Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 2:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Avs' Wilson healthy but won't return against Hawks

CHICAGO -- The good news for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson is that he's available to play against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at the United Center (8:30 p.m. ET), after missing 13 games with a concussion.

The bad news for Wilson is that he won't be put into the active lineup for the game, according to Avalanche coach Joe Sacco -- whose team went through an optional skate on Friday morning in Chicago.

"We're going to go with the same lineup that we had last game (on Monday against the Kings)," Sacco said. "We've had this happen with a couple other players. They got back from injury, but the team was playing well. At that time, it's just tough to get back in the lineup."

Wilson has been out since sustaining the concussion in a Dec. 6 road game against the Vancouver Canucks. He has 1 goal and 13 assists in 28 games. The Avs (22-18-1) are 9-4-0 since Wilson went down, including a three-game winning streak and an 8-1 record in their last nine games.

Still, the rigors of the schedule might prompt Sacco to get the 24-year old Wilson back into the lineup on Saturday night in St. Louis.

"(Wilson) played real well for us before the injury and we've got back-to-back games coming up here, so we'll see how things shake out tonight," Sacco said. "There's a possibility he could be back in (Saturday). That's the battle we have here, especially when we're healthy. When you have eight defensemen, it's a good problem to have."

Colorado will try a relatively new line combination on their top line, with Daniel Winnik moving down to the third line and David Jones moving up to join TJ Galiardi and Paul Stasny. Seymon Varlamov will get the start in goal for Colorado, while Chicago will go with Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks, who have lost two in a row, dropped a tough game 5-4 in Philadelphia on Thursday night and opted not to hold a morning skate on Friday. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will meet with the media a couple hours before the game.

Here's a look at the projected lineups for the Avs and Hawks on Friday night:

AVALANCHE
TJ Galiardi-Paul Statsny-David Jones
Gabriel Landeskog-Ryan O'Reilly-Milan Hejduk
Daniel Winnik-Jay McClement-Chuck Kobasew
Cody McLeod -David Van Der Gulik -Kevin Porter

Shane O'Brien-Erik Johnson
Kyle Quincey-Stefan Elliott
Jan Hejda-Ryan O'Byrne

Seymon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

BLACKHAWKS
Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Viktor Stalberg-Andrew Shaw-Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell-Dave Bolland-Andrew Brunette
Jimmy Hayes-Jamal Mayers-Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell-Dylan Olsen

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
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Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:14 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kruger back on the ice for Chicago

CHICAGO -- Rookie center Marcus Kruger appears to be making progress recovering from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of four straight games.

Kruger hasn't played since Dec. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a game in which he was hit hard into the boards six days after returning from a potential head injury that happened on an illegal charge Dec. 20 by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland.

Since that Columbus game, Kruger has struggled to get back on the ice and earlier this week Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Kruger had a "bad day" after he'd shown improvements. The next day Quenneville said Kruger was better and the Hawks then left for Philadelphia and a game Thursday night that they lost 5-4 on a late goal in the third.

The Hawks opted not to hold a morning skate Friday at United Center, prior to playing the Colorado Avalanche, but Kruger was on the ice in the morning with a skating coach going through individual work.

Kruger, who'd been centering the second line between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, has three goals and seven assists in 34 games with the Hawks.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 3:58 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Blackhawks seeing organizational depth tested

CHICAGO -- After skating through most of the first 39 games relatively healthy, the Chicago Blackhawks are now having their organizational depth tested.

They've got a possible long-term injury and indefinite suspension of forward Daniel Carcillo to deal with, plus injuries to veteran defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) and rookie center Marcus Kruger (upper body). Montador’s ailment isn't known, while it's believed Kruger's stems from a possible concussion. He was held out of a game Dec. 21 against the Montreal Canadiens after taking an illegal charge by Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland the night before.

Kruger returned for a game on Dec. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and sustained a couple more big hits into the boards. He hasn't played since and Quenneville said that he regressed somewhat on Tuesday before feeling better Wednesday.

Kruger and Montador were both placed on injured reserve Wednesday and two more new faces came up from the Hawks' system to take their place. Joining fellow rookie forward Jimmy Hayes -- who was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Dec. 29 -- are 21-year old defenseman Dylan Olsen and 20-year old forward Andrew Shaw.

"We've got some depth organizationally," Quenneville said. "Our young kids are playing. Internally we like our depth and sometimes we got exposed to it. That's what we get to find out and I think every team in the League goes through it over the course of the season. We haven't gotten hit with it until about now, so it's all part of the process."

Quenneville gave that answer after Wednesday's practice at the United Center, before the Hawks headed off to play the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night in Philly. It was in response to a question about whether he thinks Chicago needs to bring in a veteran replacement for Carcillo if it's determined that the Hawks' gritty forward will be out for a long time.

In short, his answer was the Hawks will look inside the organization first. In fact, Shaw and Olsen are the seventh and eighth rookies the Hawks have put on the active roster this season -- along with Kruger, Brandon Saad, Brandon Pirri, Ben Smith and Jimmy Hayes, who was called up in late December and has played two games.

Olsen, a first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft (No. 28), is a 6-foot-2, 214-pound blueliner who's not afraid to hit and specializes in playing shutdown defense. Shaw, the Hawks' fifth-round pick in the 2011 Draft (No. 139), is a 5-10, 180-pound, energetic scrapper like Carcillo, who's also got some nifty skills around the net.

Shaw impressed Chicago's management and coaches in both prospects camp and training camp, and started the season in Rockford on an AHL contract. He scored 12 goals and totaled 21 points in 33 games before signing his entry-level contract on Tuesday and getting the call to come to Chicago not long afterward.
 
He's a good hitter and he's not afraid to drop the mitts -- as evidenced by fighting Carcillo during a scrimmage early in training camp. Now he'll make his NHL debut on Thursday against the Flyers -- likely playing right wing on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.

"Shaw is playing well down (in Rockford) and gives us a little personality and he's kind of a comparable player (to Carcillo)," Quenneville said. "It will give him a chance to see what he can do. We don't want to change his game, whoever he plays with. I'm sure we'll enjoy his energy."

As for Olsen, who got the call-up Tuesday on his 21st birthday, the Hawks are excited to see what he can bring to the team -- most likely playing the right point on the third defense pair in place of Montador. He scored 1 goal and added 1 assist with 38 penalty minutes in 30 games this season for Rockford.

"I like the way he can skate, I like the size and I like his presence," Quenneville said. "We're going to see how he does."

Like other rookies this season, Shaw and Olsen are just looking to make a great first impression. For Shaw, his approach to playing with Toews and Sharp will remain simplistic.

"Just play my game," he said. "That's why I'm here and that's what got me here. Just go to the net, play hard, stick up for my teammates and I think I should be fine. A few years ago, I never thought I'd be playing my first game in the NHL (now), but it shows hard work pays off."

Olsen is also eager to hit the ice wearing Chicago's iconic sweater.

"This is a huge opportunity," he said. "It's something you look forward to your whole life and finally getting the chance and the call last night was incredible. I'm just a hard-nosed defenseman. I can shut down the other team's top lines, take the body, move the puck and make good plays."

They weren't the only prospect roster moves the Hawks made this week. Chicago's front office was also busy on Monday, when the Hawks announced they’d signed 2011 first-round picks Mark McNeill (No. 18) and Philip Danault (No. 26) to entry-level contracts. Both are currently having good seasons with their respective junior teams.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 3:34 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Injury, suspension could keep Carcillo out a while

CHICAGO -- Daniel Carcillo's health prognosis is still not certain for the Chicago Blackhawks, but initial reports coming from Hawks coach Joel Quenneville don't sound all that encouraging.

Carcillo was injured on Monday night at the United Center while delivering an illegal hit to Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert in the second period of Chicago's 4-3 loss. Both players were hurt on the play and didn't return to the game, but Carcillo's appeared to be worse -- he got his left leg caught up under the fallen Gilbert.

The Hawks haven't released any official updates about Carcillo's status since the injury happened, but in the meantime the League took action to suspend Carcillo indefinitely for the hit until a hearing about the incident is held. It's Carcillo's sixth suspension and third that he'll serve this season, but for now the potential injury is what's of most concern for Chicago.

"We're still talking about the options with him," Quenneville said. "He had some tests done (Tuesday) and we're still evaluating it."

Asked if those options include surgery, Quenneville only answered, "We'll see," after Wednesday's practice at the United Center. It was just the second game back from a suspected concussion that kept Carcillo out for six games.

He came back and played left wing on the Hawks' top line with captain Jonathan Toews at center and Marian Hossa on the right wing.

"We just got him back and Carce is playing really well with Hoss and I," Toews said. "He was bringing that physical presence and he got the crowd going the other night with a fight against (Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi). He made a couple big plays in the offensive zone, too, so we want to keep a guy like that in our lineup. He's an effective player for us and we always say if we lose one of our key guys, we'll find a way to play without him … but it's no fun when that happens."

Carcillo has scored 2 goals and added 9 assists with a plus-10 rating, including a primary assist on Monday to set up Toews for his 22nd goal of the season.

However, it's been a turbulent debut season in Chicago for Carcillo after he signed a one-year contract as a free agent last summer. He started out serving a two-game suspension for an incident that occurred between periods of his final playoff game last spring with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Then he was assessed a second two-game suspension for an illegal hit from behind on Oct. 28 against Carolina's Joni Pitkainen. A League hearing will determine how long this next suspension will last, but that penalty might have to be enforced after Carcillo gets back from a long-term absence because of an injured leg.

Carcillo has not been made available to speak with reporters, but Quenneville was asked on Wednesday what his mood is like given the circumstances.

"I would assume that he's not too happy," Quenneville said.

The Hawks are standing behind him as a teammate, but his latest hit also puts them in a difficult situation of sorts after some of them called for the League to crack down even more against illegal hits this season.

"It's tough to tell, just because you know the guy and he is a friend and he's your teammate," Toews said of Carcillo's hit on Gilbert. "Again, it is a dangerous spot. We've been talking about these suspensions and head shots and different places where we have to be careful. Obviously, maybe he has a bit of a reputation, so that might play into it ... but you stand behind him. He's a physical player. He's going out there trying to create energy for our team, so it's unfortunate both players kind of came out of it with an injury."
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 2:00 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hawks motivated by earlier drubbing by Oilers

CHICAGO -- The last time they saw the Edmonton Oilers, the Chicago Blackhawks were in Rexall Place down 9-2 and the crowd was chanting for a 10th goal to be put on the board late in the third.

It was called a "humiliating" loss by Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville afterward and his players agreed. Since that game, it's been a different story for both teams. The Hawks have gone 12-4-1 and surged to the top of the League standings, while the Oilers are 7-17-1 in their past 25 games.

Monday night's game Edmonton at the United Center appears to be a prime opportunity for Chicago to exact some revenge for that earlier drubbing and the Hawks aren't exactly downplaying it.

"We certainly should use it as motivation," forward Jamal Mayers said after Monday's morning skate. "Obviously they took it to us in every facet of the game and we've got a chance to redeem ourselves tonight and get a victory -- and that's our focus."

Speaking of focus, the blowout loss to the Oilers actually helped the Hawks to regain theirs during a tough road swing through Western Canada and California. Just about everything was wrong about their game on Nov. 19 in Edmonton, but they quickly rebounded and haven't looked back --until now.

"I think it maybe just helped us realize some of our issues and some of our problems as a team that we needed to rectify," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "When you're kind of cruising along, sometimes your talent and skill maybe takes over a little bit, even if you're not playing the right way and doing the right things. That will only get you so far, so maybe it was a wake-up call for us, that maybe we needed to change a few things and play harder and better for each other if we wanted to keep winning. It was a choice we made and you've seen a difference since then. So, it's time to put our team game to use tonight."

Don't mistake that for bravado or prediction of a win, however.

"We're not going to make any promises or do any trash talking," Toews said. "It's just all about how we play tonight and how we show up and prepare for this one."

The Oilers, meanwhile, know it's going to be a challenge.

"Good for us," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "Let's go right to the acid test. If we're going to grow up and be a competitive team, we have to take responsibility for our performances when they're good and bad. We had a strong game against these guys the last time we saw them. We know they're way better than a seven-goal spread, at least that, so we're going to have to bring our 'A' game from top to bottom tonight."

That means not trying to be too complex offensively and trying to once again tilt the ice in their favor by getting the puck behind the Chicago defense and forechecking effectively all game.

"It's just one of those things where we played them well last game and we're going to have to try and repeat that exact same game," Oilers forward Ryan Jones said. "That was one of the more simple games we've played all year. We did a great job of getting pucks deep and shooting and getting traffic to the net. That's kind of what we've been taking about what we need in our game all year."
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 2:00 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kruger out, Hayes in for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger will miss a third straight game with an upper-body injury when Chicago hosts the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the United Center, which means rookie Jimmy Hayes will get his second start.

Defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) also will miss the game, as Sami Lepisto and John Scott will start as Chicago's third defense pair.

Edmonton is pulling a bit of a surprise by starting Devan Dubnyk in goal after he took a 4-1 loss Saturday against the New York Islanders -- which was the Oilers' third straight defeat on this four-game road trip.

Ben Eager also likely will start for Edmonton, despite two roughing calls plus a 10-minute unsportsmanlike-conduct call in the Islanders game -- which led to a pair of New York power-play goals. Meanwhile, Oilers coach Tom Renney hinted after this morning's skate that he might switch his top two lines to mirror what they were when Edmonton beat the Hawks 9-2 on Nov. 19 at Rexall Place.

If so, that means veteran Ryan Smyth might get put with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall on the top line, with Jordan Eberle moving to the second line with Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner.

Here's a look at how the Blackhawks and Oilers may line up tonight:

OILERS
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Ryan Smyth
Jordan Eberle - Shawn Horcoff - Sam Gagner
Ales Hemsky - Eric Belanger - Ryan Jones
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry
Colten Teubert - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, with Nikolai Khabibulin the backup

BLACKHAWKS
Daniel Carcillo - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Patrick Kane - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers - Jimmy Hayes

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell - Steve Montador

Corey Crawford will start in goal, with Ray Emery the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 6:05 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Wings ready to roll with rookie fourth line

CHICAGO -- The label people like to put on the Detroit Red Wings is "aging," as a number of their star players are getting into the latter stages of their careers.

However, the Wings' average age will drop for Friday night's game against the rival Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center (8:30 p.m.) thanks to an all-rookie fourth line.

Regular third-line center Darren Helm and fourth-line right wing Tomas Holmstrom are out with groin injuries, so Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is ready to go with Gustav Nyquist, Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson as his fourth line on Friday night.

That makes the 23-year old Emmerton the veteran of the trio -- as both Nyquist and Andersson will be playing just their second NHL games.

"They're good hockey players, but I'll just try to calm them down the first couple of shifts," Emmerton said after Detroit's morning skate on Friday. "I'm still young, so I'll try to do the same thing for myself. But I'm the oldest guy and I've got the most games played. It's a weird feeling, but I think we’ll be fine."

It could also be fun for them, trying to prove they belong in a heated rivalry game against the League's top team.

"Chicago's a great team, so it's going to be a real good test for us," said Emmerton, who has just 28 NHL games under his belt. "It's kind of fun for there to be a young line to just go out there and do what we can and help the team. It's one of those games it's pretty easy to get excited for."

Nyquist, who's from Sweden, is thrilled for a couple of reasons.

It's a second chance to try and impress Babcock after not making much of an impression in his NHL debut against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 1, but it's also going to happen in front of his parents and brother -- who'd planned to see him play in Grand Rapids and celebrate New Year's with him this weekend. Now they'll see him in the Windy City on Friday night.

"My parents and my brother are in town, so it will be a great time for them up in the stands," he said. "They were here for three days in Chicago and drove back to Grand Rapids to see me over New Year's. Right after practice I got called up, so I went right back with them to Chicago."

The decision to play all the rookies on the fourth line means that Justin Abdelkader -- who'd been centering the fourth line -- moves up to take Helm's spot in the middle of the third line between Drew Miller and Danny Cleary.

"He'll do good," said Helm, who made the trip despite the groin issue and having 20-stitches in his lip after getting hit in the face with a puck during the warm-up for Tuesday's game against St. Louis. "He's played in a lot of different situations and a lot of different spots and he's always done really good. He's a good player and when he gets a chance with those two guys he'll be able to jump right in there and contribute."

The Wings will miss Helm, though. He's not only the fastest skater on the team, but he's become a pest on the penalty kill and regularly gets breakaway chances off his work on that unit.

"It’s a loss all over," Babcock said. "Helmer's a tenacious, hard-working, great player for us and him and Cleary have given us a line a lot like what (Dave Bolland) does for (Chicago). It gives you a third group that’s really good and it wears on the other team. That's an opportunity for Abby. I've never met a player that wanted to play less. Here's an opportunity for Abby here tonight. Grab hold of it and do something with it."
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Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 10:47 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Wings, Hawks renew heated rivalry

CHICAGO -- Friday night’s game at the United Center (8:30 p.m.) will be the first of six meetings between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, who find themselves at or near the top of the Western Conference standings.

The Wings come to the Windy City off an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory against another Central Division rival, the St. Louis Blues, on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit, however, has just a 9-10-0 record on the road this season and will be facing a team in the Blackhawks that have only dropped one game in regulation at home in the month of December.

That was a tough 2-0 loss at the United Center to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday – a game in which goalies on both teams dominated the highlights. The Hawks’ offense will have to solve another top goalie in Jimmy Howard on Friday night.

The Blackhawks will get gritty forward Daniel Carcillo back from an upper-body injury that kept him out for six games, while rookie center Marcus Kruger will miss a second straight game with an upper-body injury believed to be related to a concussion.

Hawks defenseman Steve Montador missed practices on Tuesday and Thursday, but played against the Kings on Wednesday and hasn’t been ruled out for Friday night’s game against the Wings prior to the morning skate.

The Red Wings will be without two regulars in its lineup, as Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm are both sidelined with groin injuries. They will be replaced by rookie center Gustav Nyquist and rookie forward Joakim Andersson -- a pair of talented Swedish youngsters.

Here’s a look at how both teams may line up on Friday night:

RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller-Justin Abdelkader-Danny Cleary
Gustav Nyquist-Cory Emmerton-Joakim Andersson

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

BLACKHAWKS
Daniel Carcillo - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Viktor Stalberg - Patrick Kane - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers - Jimmy Hayes

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Nicklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell - Steve Montador

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday