CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane
's moving back to right wing on the top line is the biggest change for either team heading into tonight's game here at the United Center between the Blackhawks and New York Islanders
, but both teams may have some other changes coming.
The Islanders might be without defenseman Andrew MacDonald
, who appears to have been injured blocking a shot Tuesday in Buffalo with just six seconds left in New York’s 2-1 victory.
"That's the desperation that we're talking about and it was 5 on 5," Islanders coach Jack Capuano
said at Friday's optional skate. "(Travis Hamonic
), (Steve Staios
) and MacDonald all blocked shots in that game and obviously it hit Andrew in a tough spot, so right now, as of this
morning, he'll be a game-time decision tonight."
That means rookie defenseman Dylan Reese
, called up Thursday from the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an emergency basis, might get in the lineup if MacDonald can't go. Reese was paired with Hamonic at Thursday’s practice, but according to Capuano the pairings could change if MacDonald is held out.
For the Blackhawks, it looks like rookie forward Ben Smith
will get back into the lineup for the first time since Nov. 19. Smith centered the third line at the morning skate, playing between Bryan Bickell
on the left and Michael Frolik
on the right – but it's unclear who will come out of the lineup to make room for Smith.
The third line's usual center, Dave Bolland
, missed Thursday's practice and Friday’s skate with an undisclosed injury, but is expected to play against the Islanders. Smith could replace Bickell, who has been slumping and didn't record a point in November.
"These guys are so good and just to be here and experience that and play with them, I'm definitely learning and improving every day," said Smith, who has played just two games since being recalled Nov. 17 from Rockford of the American Hockey League. "I'm just kind of being
patient and waiting for my chance to get in there and when I do get a chance, I need to take advantage of it and run with it."
Here’s how the lineups might look like for the Blackhawks and Islanders tonight:
- John Tavares
- P.A. Parenteau
- Frans Nielsen
- Kyle Okposo
- Josh Bailey
- Brian Rolston
- Marty Reasoner
- Nino Niederreiter
Mart Streit - Steve Staios
- Travis Hamonic
- Mike Mottau
, who's from nearby Glenview, Ill., will start in goal with Rick DiPietro
- Jonathan Toews
- Patrick Kane
- Marcus Kruger
- Marian Hossa
- Dave Bolland
- Michael Frolik
- Jamal Mayers
- Andrew Brunette
- Brent Seabrook
- Niklas Hjalmarsson
- Sean O'Donnell
will start in goal, with Ray Emery
For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here