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Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks sticking with game plan against Blues

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will host the rival St. Louis Blues on Sunday at United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC,TSN2) and they're sticking with the same lineup that's won the past two games.

Only four games remain in the regular season for Chicago (44-19-15), which trails the Colorado Avalanche by three points for second place in the Central Division with only four games left.

Each of the past two games was played without top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who are sidelined with injuries until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The lineup designed to be simpler in structure, yet the Blackhawks haven't lacked too much offensively. They beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout Thursday at United Center on 26 shots and followed it up a day later with a 4-3 victory at the Columbus Blue Jackets on 38 shots.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 2:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks missing dynamic duo as they face Wild

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be without injured forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the rest of the regular season, and their first test without the dynamic duo comes Thursday at United Center against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

The defending Stanley Cup champions trail the second-place Colorado Avalanche by three points.

The Wild (89 points) are trying to further secure the first Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Blackhawks are hoping to slice into the Avalanche lead for home-ice advantage in the first round. Chicago has lost three straight games, all played on the road without Kane (lower body), and now will play without he and Toews (upper body).

The Blackhawks have played one other regular-season game without Kane and Toews, and that was for rest purposes in the final game of the 2012-13 season at the St. Louis Blues.

"Obviously we missed [Kane] on that trip there, but now without [Toews] and him at the same time, offensively … I think that's why we're looking to play a tight, simple game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate. "I don't think you have quite the skill across the board and those guys usually enhance their linemates and their lines. It's a situation where we have to make sure we play the right way. We've got to play hard, we've got to play simple and look to play tight."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 2:39 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Alfredsson, Datsyuk out vs. Bruins

DETROIT -- Add another big name to the injury list for the Detroit Red Wings.

Right wing Daniel Alfredsson has a lower-body injury and will not play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. NBCSN, RDS, TSN2). Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Alfredsson was day-to-day.

Alfredsson did not participate in the morning skate Wednesday after not practicing Tuesday, when he told reporters he planned to play against Boston. Alfredsson didn't speak with reporters after the skate Wednesday.

Detroit will play without center Pavel Datsyuk, who is back to skating after an injury to his left knee but isn't ready from a conditioning standpoint to return to live action. Datsyuk rested for a couple weeks in March to let the pain in his knee subside and only recently got back on the ice for practices.

"Feel much better," Datsyuk said after the Red Wings skate. "Happy to skate with the team."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 4:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Abdelkader expected to play

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are expected to get forward Justin Abdelkader back from a leg laceration Sunday at Joe Louis Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Abdelkader, who was injured during a 4-1 loss March 16 at the Chicago Blackhawks, has missed seven games. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he'll watch pregame warm-ups before he settles on a starting lineup.

Ansar Khan, of MLive.com, and Chuck Pleiness, of the Macomb (Mich.) Daily, each reported Sunday morning that Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Abdelkader would play against the Lightning. Holland also told them center Darren Helm, who had a hat trick against Toronto, was fine after being run into the boards in the third period of that game.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jurco latest Red Wings forward returning to lineup

DETROIT -- One by one, the Detroit Red Wings are making their way from the training room back to the ice.

The tables inside the trainer's office still are crowded, but things finally are starting to thin out in there as the Red Wings look to extend their string of Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances to 23 straight seasons.

After getting center Darren Helm, forward Todd Bertuzzi and forward Joakim Andersson back earlier this week, Detroit gets another player back in rookie forward Tomas Jurco, who will return from a rib injury Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m., ET, TSN, RDS) and start on the top line with Johan Franzen and center David Legwand.

"He probably thinks he's dragging those old guys around," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate. "I can put [Gustav] Nyquist back there in a heartbeat, but Nyquist on that [second] line is flying. [Jurco] has a skill set, he makes good plays with the puck [and] can really skate. That line needs more tempo. We're trying to have more balance. We need to generate on more than just one line."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks' Teravainen debuts, Bickell close to return

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks steadily are getting healthier as the regular season winds down.

They got forward Brandon Saad back from an upper-body injury Sunday against the Nashville Predators and forward Bryan Bickell is getting close to returning from an upper-body issue.

Bickell joined the Blackhawks for the morning skate Tuesday at United Center, prior to playing the Dallas Stars, and hopes to return to the lineup later this week. He'll make the upcoming three-game road trip and be reassessed at some point during it.

"I'm excited for that," Bickell said. "I wish I was playing now, but [the] reason I'm not playing is to get better. There are a long couple of months coming up [in the Stanley Cup Playoffs], and I need to be 100 percent to help out this team."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 6:11 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Saad returns, Teravainen waits for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Brandon Saad will return to the lineup Sunday night for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators at United Center (7 p.m. ET, FS-TN, WGN).

The 21-year old Saad, in his second full season, missed three games with an undisclosed upper-body injury. His versatility and skill have become valuable assets to coach Joel Quenneville, who's played him on both wings and on each of the top three lines.

Saad has scored 19 goals and has 25 assists in 68 games.

Forward Bryan Bickell (upper body) and defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body) are not healthy enough to return, and Chicago will again make 19-year-old Finnish rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen a healthy scratch.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:53 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Predators call up Forsberg to face Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Nashville doesn't have a lot of Swedish cuisine options, but the Music City is getting a proliferation of Swedish hockey players.

The Nashville Predators now have four on their roster after recalling 19-year-old forward Filip Forsberg from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Sunday.

Swedish rookie forward Calle Jarnkrok made his NHL debut for Nashville on Friday at the Calgary Flames, picking up his first career assist in the 6-5 win, and the Predators already had forward Viktor Stalberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm.

Forsberg was called up to help with a shortage of forwards going into the game Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, who've won two straight games and hope to chase down the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division.

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Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 2:16 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks missing key regulars vs. Hurricanes

CHICAGO -- The first game without forward Patrick Kane in the lineup will be an even bigger challenge than it normally would be for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center.

When Chicago faces the Carolina Hurricanes, the Blackhawks also will be without forwards Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell, each of whom is out with an upper-body injury, and defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has a lower-body injury. All three are considered day-to-day.

The Blackhawks, who won't have Kane for the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury, also won't suit up 19-year old rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen, who arrived in Chicago on Thursday from Finland.

"It is what it is," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate. "Everybody has issues, healthwise, over the course of a season, and I don't know if there's any good time that you've got to deal with it, but we've been fortunate as far as that's gone throughout most of the season. Right now we're dealing with a little bit of it, nothing of the serious end. Missing [Kane] really gives you a lot of different things that you can try right now, and hopefully some guys absorb and take advantage of that situation."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 7:05 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Saad out of lineup as Blackhawks face Blues

CHICAGO -- Forward Brandon Saad will not play for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues at United Center.

The Blackhawks are hoping Saad, who missed a 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday at the Philadelphia Flyers with an undisclosed upper-body injury, could play Friday here against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"See how he is [Thursday]," coach Joel Quenneville said prior to puck drop against St. Louis. "Good chance [he returns] by the weekend. Fingers crossed for Friday."

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I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning
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