CHICAGO – Nikolai Khabibulin
or Cristobal Huet
With their season on the line Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks
still don't know who their goaltender will be for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at Detroit.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville
implied Monday that Khabibulin would not start Wednesday if unable to skate in Tuesday's practice. Neither Khabibulin nor Chicago's leading playoff scorer, Martin Havlat
, skated Tuesday, but the coach stopped short of ruling the pair out for Game 5.
"They'll both be with us (in Detroit)," Quenneville said. "We'll assess where they are in terms of Game 5 at tomorrow's (morning) skate."
Khabibulin left Game 3 on Friday night after the second period with a lower-body injury. Huet, who hadn't played a minute since April 11 -- a 4-2 win at Detroit on the next-to-last day of the regular season -- stopped all six third-period shots by the Wings and got the win when Patrick Sharp
's goal 1:52 into overtime gave Chicago a 4-3 victory.
But Huet wasn't as sharp in Game 4 on Sunday, allowing five goals on 26 shots and being pulled in a 6-1 loss to the Wings.
Havlat played Sunday after being knocked out of Friday's game following a first-period hit by Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall
, but played only 7:59 and saw little ice time after the first period.
With or without arguably their two biggest heroes of the playoffs to date, the Blackhawks will need to bring a renewed sense of purpose to the ice Wednesday. To a man, Chicago recognizes what's at stake.
"We can't let things get out of hand like we did (in Game 4)," said defenseman Brian Campbell
. "We have to play our best game of the year in order to get back here and keep our season going."