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Avs' Wilson healthy but won't return against Hawks

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- The good news for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson is that he's available to play against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at the United Center (8:30 p.m. ET), after missing 13 games with a concussion.

The bad news for Wilson is that he won't be put into the active lineup for the game, according to Avalanche coach Joe Sacco -- whose team went through an optional skate on Friday morning in Chicago.

"We're going to go with the same lineup that we had last game (on Monday against the Kings)," Sacco said. "We've had this happen with a couple other players. They got back from injury, but the team was playing well. At that time, it's just tough to get back in the lineup."

Wilson has been out since sustaining the concussion in a Dec. 6 road game against the Vancouver Canucks. He has 1 goal and 13 assists in 28 games. The Avs (22-18-1) are 9-4-0 since Wilson went down, including a three-game winning streak and an 8-1 record in their last nine games.

Still, the rigors of the schedule might prompt Sacco to get the 24-year old Wilson back into the lineup on Saturday night in St. Louis.

"(Wilson) played real well for us before the injury and we've got back-to-back games coming up here, so we'll see how things shake out tonight," Sacco said. "There's a possibility he could be back in (Saturday). That's the battle we have here, especially when we're healthy. When you have eight defensemen, it's a good problem to have."

Colorado will try a relatively new line combination on their top line, with Daniel Winnik moving down to the third line and David Jones moving up to join TJ Galiardi and Paul Stasny. Seymon Varlamov will get the start in goal for Colorado, while Chicago will go with Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks, who have lost two in a row, dropped a tough game 5-4 in Philadelphia on Thursday night and opted not to hold a morning skate on Friday. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will meet with the media a couple hours before the game.

Here's a look at the projected lineups for the Avs and Hawks on Friday night:

TJ Galiardi-Paul Statsny-David Jones
Gabriel Landeskog-Ryan O'Reilly-Milan Hejduk
Daniel Winnik-Jay McClement-Chuck Kobasew
Cody McLeod -David Van Der Gulik -Kevin Porter

Shane O'Brien-Erik Johnson
Kyle Quincey-Stefan Elliott
Jan Hejda-Ryan O'Byrne

Seymon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Viktor Stalberg-Andrew Shaw-Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell-Dave Bolland-Andrew Brunette
Jimmy Hayes-Jamal Mayers-Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell-Dylan Olsen

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
View More

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