BOSTON -- Injured Chicago forward Patrick Sharp is progressing well and could get back on the ice by the weekend, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said prior Tuesday's game at TD Garden. Sharp, who is sidelined with a left knee injury, will miss his fourth straight game when the Blackhawks take on Boston.
"I'm going to say soon, but how soon?" Quenneville said. "I don't think he'll be on the ice in the next couple of days but I think you can see him in not too long.
"Certainly you need some practice time, to get on the ice, have some good skates in practice time before playing some games."
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The Hawks still don't have a firm timetable for Sharp's return, but they'd like to get him back before the end of the regular season. Quenneville hinted the Hawks' game against Detroit on April 8, their second-to-last game of the season, isn't an unreasonable target. Chicago finishes the season at home against the Red Wings on April 10.
"We'd love to have that situation occur," Quenneville said. "Whether it's going to happen or not is a question mark. It's something we're hopeful for. Optimistically it would be a nice target date, but it's too early to tell right now."
Sharp has a team-high 34 goals as well as 34 assists for 68 points in 71 games.
Quenneville said he didn't have an update on center Dave Bolland, who will miss his eighth straight game with a concussion.
Rookie goalie Corey Crawford will get his 21st consecutive start Tuesday. Crawford made 33 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over Detroit on Monday, a victory Quenneville called the most important of the season for the Blackhawks as it gave them a three-point cushion over ninth-place Calgary in the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race.
Quenneville plans on going with Crawford as long as he continues to play well, meaning Marty Turco might not get another start this season. Turco hasn't started since Feb. 11 and has come on in relief only twice in the past 20 games.
"He's playing well, and we're in a tough situation here," Quenneville said of Crawford, who enters Tuesday with a 30-15-5 record. "The race is so tight, there's no wiggle room. We definitely left some points out there early on in the year that we'd like to have today, so that's where we're at. He earns the opportunity based on how well he's playing, too."
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut