SHARE
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Sunday, 01.08.2012 / 1:47 PM

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

Kruger getting closer to return for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- He won't play on Sunday night against the Detroit Red Wings, but Chicago Blackhawks rookie center Marcus Kruger went through the team's morning skate on Sunday at the United Center.

It was the first team-oriented session he's been able to participate in since the morning skate on Dec. 26 prior to playing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That game was Kruger's first back after a suspected concussion resulting from an illegal hit by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland forced him to miss a Dec. 21 game against the Montreal Candiens. The Blue Jackets hit Kruger hard twice in the first period of that game and he hasn't played since -- a span of five straight games -- despite finishing the Columbus game and totaling 14:23 of ice time.

"I feel good," said Kruger, who still isn't cleared for contact yet. "It's good to be back with the guys on the ice. It's been awhile, but it feels good."

Kruger appeared to regress in his recovery last Tuesday, when he couldn't finish his off-ice workouts because of the symptoms, but ever since he's shown improvement each day.

"That was frustrating, but the medical team has helped me a lot and I've done everything I can to be back as soon as possible," said Kruger, who'd been centering the second line between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa before the injury. "Today was just great to be back on the ice."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is pleased with the progress Kruger's making and is probably anxious to get the energetic 21-year old back in the middle of his second forward line. Kruger began skating on his own Friday and has continued to make progress.

"We appreciate the consistency in his game and he's useful in a lot of ways," Quenneville said of Kruger, who has three goals and 10 assists in 34 games played. "His production might not be high-end, but his effectiveness is what you appreciate and the consistency in his game. Positionally around the ice he's in the right spots to make plays and see plays, as well."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 01.08.2012 / 1:37 PM

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

Potential lineups for Red Wings-Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- How long does it take to have your season flipped on its collective ear in the NHL these days?

Apparently, less than a week.

The Chicago Blackhawks have found that lesson out first hand this past week. After a three game losing streak that started Jan. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers, they've gone from topping the League, Western Conference and Central Division standings with 52 points before this past Wednesday's action to sixth overall in the NHL, fourth in the West and second in their division.

Chicago has also lost four of its last five games during what appears to be a mid-season funk and now find themselves just five points ahead of the ninth-place Los Angeles Kings as the Detroit Red Wings come to the Windy City on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2).

"We had a little comfort there and that's evaporated now," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate on Sunday. "It's an amazing race. You look at fighting for a division and fighting to be in the playoff race is there. We don't want to be in that race where it's fighting to get in, but we did lose a lot of … whatever you want to call it, whether it's gravy or what, but we know that we want to be first in our division. That's our motivation and we should be driven to try and make that accomplishment."

It starts against the Red Wings (25-14-1), who sit just one point back of the Hawks in third place of the Central and two points back of the division-leading St. Louis Blues. Chicago (24-13-4) has already beaten Detroit once at the United Center and could have the upper hand because the Wings are coming into the game off a tough 4-3 loss on Saturday night in Toronto.

Detroit, which didn't hold a morning skate, will start backup Ty Conklin in goal and might get injured forwards Darren Helm and Tomas Holmstrom back from groin injuries against the Hawks.

Chicago will again be without rookie center Marcus Kruger (suspected concussion), but will get defenseman Steve Montador back in the lineup after a three-game absence because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and top defenseman Duncan Keith missed the morning skate, but both are expected to play against Detroit.

Here is a look at what the lineups for the Red Wings and Blackhawks might look like on Sunday night:

RED WINGS

Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Danny Cleary
Chris Conner-Justin Abdelkader-Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom-Ian White
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Jakub Kindl

Ty Conklin
Jimmy Howard

BLACKHAWKS

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

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

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
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.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51-56 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday