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Blackhawks missing key regulars vs. Hurricanes

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The first game without forward Patrick Kane in the lineup will be an even bigger challenge than it normally would be for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center.

When Chicago faces the Carolina Hurricanes, the Blackhawks also will be without forwards Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell, each of whom is out with an upper-body injury, and defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has a lower-body injury. All three are considered day-to-day.

The Blackhawks, who won't have Kane for the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury, also won't suit up 19-year old rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen, who arrived in Chicago on Thursday from Finland.

"It is what it is," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate. "Everybody has issues, healthwise, over the course of a season, and I don't know if there's any good time that you've got to deal with it, but we've been fortunate as far as that's gone throughout most of the season. Right now we're dealing with a little bit of it, nothing of the serious end. Missing [Kane] really gives you a lot of different things that you can try right now, and hopefully some guys absorb and take advantage of that situation."

Forward Jeremy Morin is one of those players, after being recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Friday morning. It will be Morin's fourth stint in Chicago this season, and the Blackhawks are hoping he takes advantage of it.

The Hurricanes will get forward Jiri Tlusty back from a lower-body injury that caused him to miss two games, and defenseman John-Michael Liles (concussion) will return from a six-game absence. Forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Justin Faulk will get back on the ice after missing a 3-1 victory Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets with illness.

"We're getting some bodies back," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "It's good because we need everybody. We were missing three or four guys last game and it was a gutsy effort. The guys pulled out a big win in Columbus, but we know we've got a good opponent [Friday], so we're going to need everybody and be ready to go."

Muller reworked his lines, putting Eric Staal and Jordan Staal on the top line with Alexander Semin, trying to get one dominant unit going.

Goaltender Anton Khudobin, who made 46 saves in the win against the Blue Jackets, will start for Carolina. Corey Crawford, who picked up his second shutout of the season Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues, will start for Chicago.

Here is how the lineups for the Hurricanes and Blackhawks might look:


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Alexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe - Andrei Loktionov - Patrick Dwyer

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Drayson Bowman - Manny Malhotra - Jiri Tlusty

Jay Harrison - Brett Bellemore

Andrej Sekera - John-Michael Liles

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Justin Peters, Mike Komisarek

Injured: Joni Pitkanen (heel), Ryan Murphy (upper body)


Kris Versteeg - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Michal Handzus - Andrew Shaw

Peter Regin - Ben Smith - Jeremy Morin

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Sheldon Brookbank

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - David Rundblad

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Teuvo Teravainen

Injured: Patrick Kane (lower body), Brandon Saad (upper body), Bryan Bickell (upper body), Michal Rozsival (lower body)

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