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Preview: Ducks at Blackhawks

Chicago tries for eighth straight win; Jonathan Bernier in goal for Anaheim

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS (34-22-10) at BLACKHAWKS (42-18-5)

8:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, KCOP-13, NHL.TV

 

Ducks team scope

The Anaheim Ducks will be without forward Nick Ritchie, who didn't make the trip after sustaining an upper-body injury in a 4-3 shootout win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. "He was left at home," coach Randy Carlyle said. "He suffered more of a whiplash. Actually, he ran into [Nashville forward Filip Forsberg], kind of surprised him and popped his helmet off. He wasn't feeling right, so obviously with today's protocol you're very cautionary on the symptoms that he was having." The Ducks likely will dress forward Ondrej Kase and keep forward Jared Boll in the lineup. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier, looking for his 100th NHL victory, will make his seventh straight start. The Ducks, who are tied with the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division, haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 17-19, and have alternated wins and losses in their past 12 (6-6-0).

 

Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks will reunite a familiar pair on defense when they try to extend their season-high seven-game winning streak. Defensemen Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson will play together for the first time since they helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2015. Oduya, who signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars a month later, was acquired in a trade Feb. 28 and will play the first game of his second stint with the Blackhawks on Thursday. Hjalmarsson will return after missing four games because of an upper-body injury. "Today is going to be more special, something that's fun," Oduya said. "I'm not going to be naive and just think everything is going to click perfectly the first day. But we've played with each other throughout the years, and I kind of know what he's doing. We're hopeful." The Blackhawks also will get rookie forward Nick Schmaltz back on the top line after he missed two games because of an illness. Goalie Corey Crawford will make his third straight start. The Blackhawks, 12-1-0 in their past 13 games, trail the Minnesota Wild by one point for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

 

Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf - Patrick Eaves

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Ondrej Kase -- Nate Thompson -- Corey Perry

Logan Shaw -- Chris Wagner -- Jared Boll

Cam Fowler -- Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Sami Vatanen -- Brandon Montour

Jonathan Bernier

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer

Injured: John Gibson (lower body), Clayton Stoner (lower body), Simon Despres (upper body), Nick Ritchie (upper body)

Suspended: Antoine Vermette

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Marian Hossa

Tomas Jurco -- Marcus Kruger -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Jeff Glass

Scratched: Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen, Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival

Injured: Scott Darling (upper body)

 

Status report

Gibson faced shots during the morning skate but won't play against the Blackhawks or against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. … Darling got on the ice prior to the morning skate, but coach Joel Quenneville said he's still expected to miss the next two weeks. Rasmussen will be a healthy scratch for the third time in the past five games.

 

Who's hot

Getzlaf has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past seven games and has six points (one goal, five assists) during a three-game point streak. Eaves has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. Rakell has five goals in the past five games. … Toews has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the past nine games. Kane has 10 points (nine goals, one assist) in the past five games. Panik has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the past nine games. Panarin has five points (one goal, four assists) during a five-game point streak.

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