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At the Rink blog

Hawks can't overlook Jackets as they aim for sweep

Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 1:06 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Hawks can't overlook Jackets as they aim for sweep
COLUMBUS -- The Chicago Blackhawks have already beaten the Columbus Blue Jackets five times this season and haven't scored less than four goals in any of the victories.

It would seem the potential is strong for the Hawks, who are 7-1-1 in their last nine games, to get caught in a "trap" game on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m.) in the sixth and final meeting of the season between the Central Division foes.

Chicago also has a big game against the rival Vancouver Canucks at home on Wednesday, but coach Joel Quenneville hopes to see more of a "first things first" mentality from the Hawks on Tuesday night.

"It's an important game from our perspective," Quenneville said after Tuesday's morning skate. "They've been playing well and beating some teams here. They've been in every hockey game. They seem to have added a bit more to their game as far as their closeness, they've got purpose to their game and you watch how they compete ... it's going to be a hard game."

That's what Columbus coach Todd Richards is counting on, anyway. Richards said his team is not downplaying its dismal season record against the Blackhawks and would like to add at least one victory before the year is done.

"We're 0-5 against them, a division team," Richards said. "You're 0-5, so I don't think there's a lot more to say after that. Hockey players and athletes in general, there's a lot of pride in how you play. It will be a great challenge tonight, but we'd like to finish on a good note against them out of six games."

Defenseman James Wisniewski will not play for Columbus after getting hurt on Sunday in Calgary and experiencing concussion symptoms on the flight home, according to Richards.

David Savard will likely draw into the Blue Jackets lineup on the back end with the other defenseman shuffling into new pairings. Richards said that goalie Curtis Sanford, who was also injured against Calgary and had to leave the game in the first period, is likely out for the rest of the season after tearing a leg muscle.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews did not make the trip while still recovering from an upper-body injury believed to be concussion-related, but might skate on his own for the first time snce last week.

Here is how the lineups might look for the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets on Tuesday night:

BLACKHAWKS
Andrew Brunette - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Jamal Mayers - Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Nick Leddy
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Dylan Olsen

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

BLUE JACKETS
RJ Umberger - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal - Mark Letestu - Cam Atkinson
Ryan Russell - Darryl Boyce - Jared Boll
Colton Gillies - Ryan Johansen - Derek Dorsett

Jack Johnson - John Moore
Nikita Nikitin - Brett Lebda
David Savard - Aaron Johnson

Steve Mason
Allen York
Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic