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At the Rink: Blackhawks at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- There was a bit of a gasp when the Chicago Blackhawks looked at one end of the ice and saw medical and training staff attending to goaltender Corey Crawford during practice Wednesday.

Crawford was hit in the mask by a Bryan Bickell shot, but after a quick stop off the ice he was back in the crease to finish practice. Coach Joel Quenneville confirmed Crawford would start in goal against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

"Happens sometimes," Crawford said. "Was a shot, hit me in the head. Just a shot. Happens sometimes. Just a weird play, that's all."

While Crawford downplayed it, his teammates had a bit of concern.

"We're hoping he's OK," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We all know what he's meant to us this year. I talk about [Patrick] Kane or some of our other players we've played without, but it's another thing to lose a goaltender, especially one like Crow [Crawford]."

In 50 games Crawford is 30-15-5 and ranks in the top 10 in the League with a 2.19 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. But he's been even better since Kane sustained a broken collarbone Feb. 24. Crawford has played nine of 11 games since Kane was hurt, going 7-1-1 with a 1.43 GAA and .956 save percentage.

"I think we've played some good hockey at times without Kane," Toews said, "but part of it is Crow stopping up his game, no doubt about that."

Crawford deflected credit to the players in front of him, saying he hasn't changed anything.

"Just a combination of our [defensemen] playing strong hockey and keeping stuff to the outside," he said. "Sometimes you feel like you're more in a groove. Things are going pretty well right now."

Not much has been going well for the Flyers, who are 1-4-4 in their past nine games and are coming off a four-game road trip through Canada that saw them go 0-2-2.

One recent positive has been forward Jakub Voracek, who has two goals and six assists in his past eight games, and with 73 points he's one behind the League leaders, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers never have had an Art Ross Trophy winner, but Voracek said he isn't spending much time thinking about becoming the first.

"If I would start thinking about it I would end up with one point in the next eight games," Voracek said. "I'll try to have fun with it, enjoy it. I think the last couple games me and [Claude Giroux] really have played well together, created a lot of opportunities. Try to enjoy it, score as many goals as we can and hopefully have a chance to win the games."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Andrew Shaw

Patrick Sharp - Antoine Vermette - Marian Hossa

Bryan Bickell - Brad Richards - Teuvo Teravainen

Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Kris Versteeg

Kimmo Timonen - Brent Seabrook

Duncan Keith - Michal Rozsival

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Daniel Carcillo, Andrew Desjardins, David Rundblad

Injured: Patrick Kane (collarbone)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Zac Rinaldo - Nick Cousins - Ryan White

Brayden Schenn - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Chris VandeVelde

Michael Del Zotto - Mark Streit

Nicklas Grossmann - Andrew MacDonald

Nick Schultz - Carlo Colaiacovo

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier

Injured: Luke Schenn (lower body), R.J. Umberger (hip/abdomen)

Status report: Timonen had spent the previous eight years with the Flyers prior to being traded to Blackhawks on Feb. 27. "It's weird to be in this [visiting locker] room," he said. "I'm really looking forward to tonight." … Teravainen skated with Toews and Saad during the morning skate, but Quenneville said Shaw would play there as he continues to experiment with forward lines. "We're trying some things down the stretch without Kane in our lineup." … Flyers coach Craig Berube opted to keep Brayden Schenn on the fourth line with Bellemare and VandeVelde. "I had that line together in Edmonton and they had a decent game," Berube said. "I liked the lines in Edmonton the way they were, so I'm going to go with it again tonight."

Who's hot: Toews has two goals and four assists in his past five games. … Giroux has three goals in his past two games.


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