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Blackhawks trying to make up ground on Blues

St. Louis goalie Elliott expected to play after injury at practice

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUES (48-23-9) at BLACKHAWKS (47-26-7)

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET; FS-MW, CSN-CH, NHL.TV

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be without forwards Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw and Arterm Anisimov, goalie Corey Crawford and defenseman Duncan Keith against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

Shaw, Anisimov and Crawford are dealing with upper-body injuries, Hossa a lower-body injury, and Keith is suspended.

"We like depth and we think that over the course of a season you're going to get exposed to [key injuries]," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Looking around the League, it seems like a lot of teams right now that have had a number of guys miss some games here right at the end. 

"We're fortunate that we see everybody [who's injured] available next week. That's the most important thing right now."

Anisimov was boarded in the second period of the 6-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Forward Bryan Bickell was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

Bickell, who's been sent to the minors twice this season, will play left wing on the third line. 

Bickell played a big role in the Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup championship run and has scored a number of key postseason goals. Now, he hopes to take advantage of this new opportunity to impress.

"You think of [getting traded] and you think your [time] was up here, you think your days are over," Bickell said. "But the [NHL Trade Deadline] passed and then you've got to refocus, [so] if this day would come, that [I can] help in any way. If something had worked out [in a trade], which it didn't, it would've been different. But I'm happy to be back here and help out the team that I've been with my whole career, to win again. That's my goal."

The Blues, who are behind the Dallas Stars atop the Central Division based on the tiebreaker, are without forward David Backes (lower body), goalie Jake Allen (lower body) and forward Steve Ott, who's been out since Dec. 5 with torn hamstrings and was diagnosed with Colitis on Wednesday. 

Forward Robby Fabbri (lower body) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (upper body) participated in morning skate Thursday, and will be game-time decisions.

"We would prefer to take this lineup right to the edge," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're still waiting approval on a couple of guys to see if we can get them in. We'll have 20 [players], that's about all I can say right now. We'll have 20 for [Thursday]. We'll see how it goes.

"Some guys that we thought maybe were in [Wednesday] might not be in today. So, we'll wait right through to game time."

Brian Elliott, who left practice Wednesday after taking a shot off the inside of his blocker, is fine and will start in net for the Blues. Scott Darling will make his 11th straight start in net for the Blackhawks, who trail the Stars and Blues by four points with two games remaining.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo

Kevin Shattenkirk - Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott

Anders Nilsson

Injured: David Backes (lower body), Jake Allen (lower body), Robby Fabbri (lower body), Jay Bouwmeester (upper body), Steve Ott (hamstrings, Colitis)

Scratched: Petteri Lindbohm

BLACKHAWKS

Andrew Ladd - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin - Teuvo Teravainen - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Desjardins - Dale Weise

Brandon Mashinter - Marcus Kruger - Tomas Fleischmann

Trevor Van Riemsdyk - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Viktor Svedberg - Brent Seabrook

Erik Gustafsson - Michal Rozsival

Scott Darling

Michael Leighton

Injured: Marian Hossa (lower body), Artem Anisimov (upper body), Andrew Shaw (upper body), Corey Crawford (upper body)

Scratched: Duncan Keith (suspended), Christian Ehrhoff, Dennis Rasmussen

Status report: Pietrangelo, Gunnarsson and Upshall did not participate in the Blues' morning skate. ... Hossa, who skated outside the top four lines at the morning skate, said he will only play in the regular-season finale at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday if he's completely healthy. ... Shaw and Anisimov are each unlikely to play against Columbus. ... Quenneville said the plan for Crawford is to return to the net against the Blue Jackets. 

Who's hot: Panarin has three goals and eight assists in the past three games. … Kane has five goals and three assists in three games. ... Elliott is 12-1-1 with a 1.74 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and four shutouts since the All-Star break.

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