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.
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:
- Patrick Kane
- Marian Hossa
- Marcus Kruger
- Viktor Stalberg
- Dave Bolland
- Andrew Shaw
- Jamal Mayers
- Michael Frolik
- Brent Seabrook
- Nick Leddy
- Dylan Olsen
- Derick Brassard
- Rick Nash
- Mark Letestu
- Cam Atkinson
- Darryl Boyce
- Jared Boll
- Ryan Johansen
- Derek Dorsett
- John Moore
- Brett Lebda
- Aaron Johnson