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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Forward Marian Hossa will play for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Carolina Hurricanes at United Center on Sunday.

Hossa missed the Blackhawks' past two games with an upper-body injury, but said the four days off during the Christmas break helped him recover enough to play.

"It was nice break for my upper-body injury," Hossa said after participating in the morning skate. "Obviously, we had the nice break, a couple extra days definitely helped settle it down. Now, I just tested it on the ice and it felt great.

"It happened in a game, one thing," Hossa said. "Basically, it got worse in Buffalo, and after the game it was smarter to not play. Just take the break and make sure I get it back [feeling] normal."

Hossa's return means forward Andrew Shaw, who was filling in on the top line, will move back to right wing on the third line.

Blackhawks defenseman Rob Scuderi will also play after being hit in the face by a tipped shot in Chicago's 4-0 loss at the Dallas Stars on Dec. 22. Scuderi said it took about 25 stitches to repair the cut near his mouth.

"I've never really worn a shield and never really felt the need to wear one, because I'm usually paying attention to the game," he said. "I saw that tip happen [at the] last second. You try to turn your head at the last second and try to turn away. It's a rare occurrence when it happens. You just try to keep your wits about you and know where the puck is at all times when you're on the ice."

Carolina, which defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1 at PNC Arena on Saturday, did not hold a morning skate. Goalie Cam Ward made 19 saves in the win, but Eddie Lack will start against the Blackhawks.

That is the only expected lineup change for the Hurricanes, who feature former Blackhawks forwards Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom on their top two lines.

After helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2015, Versteeg and Nordstrom will play against Chicago for the first time since being traded to Carolina in the offseason. Nordstrom has never played against the Blackhawks, while Versteeg has previous experience doing it after helping Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2010.

The Hurricanes are looking to sweep their fourth back-to-back set and are 5-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

"It's mental toughness, right?" Peters told the Hurricanes' website. "It's no different from [Saturday] night. It was a short flight last night, good rest today and now we play a very formidable opponent. You've got to wrap your head around how you're going to play on the road to be successful."

Goalie Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks, who are 6-4-1 in December.

"We had a brutal last 20 minutes [in Dallas] to go into the break, but at the same time, it was a decent run going into it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "[It's been] a really busy December, and then we've got a really busy January coming up. I think we can take advantage of it and come out of it fresh as possible here."

Here are the projected lineups:


Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Riley Nash

John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey

Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Injured: Nathan Gerbe (lower body), James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Michal Jordan, Brad Malone


Teuvo Teravainen - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Dennis Rasmussen - Andrew Shaw

Andrew Desjardins - Phillip Danault - Ryan Garbutt

Duncan Keith - Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

Rob Scuderi - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: Marcus Kruger (left wrist)

Scratched: David Rundblad, Brandon Mashinter

Status report: Crawford will make his eighth straight start. … Malone is expected to be a healthy scratch for the second straight game, with Terry filling his spot on the Hurricanes' fourth line. ... Jordan hasn't played since Nov. 16.

Who's hot: Faulk has four goals and five assists in his past nine games for Carolina. His goal against the Devils on Saturday was his 13th of the season and first even-strength goal.

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