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Preview: Hurricanes at Blackhawks

Carolina eyes sweep of season series; Chicago 14-4-4 at home this season

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

HURRICANES (17-14-7) AT BLACKHAWKS (24-12-5)

8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, CSN-CH, FS-CR, NHL.TV 


Hurricanes team scope 

The Carolina Hurricanes are looking to sweep the season series against the Chicago Blackhawks and sweep a road back-to-back after winning 4-2 at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. The Hurricanes, who defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 at PNC Arena on Dec. 30, didn't hold a morning skate. It's unknown whether goalie Cam Ward will make his 15th straight start. Backup Michael Leighton, who spent the past two seasons in the Blackhawks organization, will start if Ward does not play. The Hurricanes are 2-3-0 in their past five games and looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time since a three-game winning streak Dec. 17-23. "The big thing is we haven't played as well as we'd have liked coming out of the [Christmas] break," coach Bill Peters said Thursday in St. Louis. "We kind of looked more like ourselves [against the Blues], more to our identity and the way we want to play." Carolina is 6-10-6 on the road, but has the NHL's top success rate killing penalties (88.5 percent).


Blackhawks team scope 

The Chicago Blackhawks will look to sweep a back-to-back after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in overtime Thursday and improving to 14-4-4 at United Center. Chicago made two roster moves prior to its optional skate Friday. The Blackhawks assigned forward Spencer Abbott and rookie defenseman Gustav Forsling to Rockford of the American Hockey League. Forsling will make his AHL debut. "We want him playing, and playing more minutes and get confidence and then get more minutes in power-play and penalty-killing situations and more consistency to his game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought [Forsling]he started off all right, but I still think that this is probably a good process for him getting more exposure in the game and keeps seven guys here." Abbott was recalled from Rockford on Tuesday. He was named to the Central Division roster for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic on Thursday and played his second NHL game against the Sabres. Defenseman Brian Campbell will return to the lineup after being scratched for the second time in the past four games. Goaltender Scott Darling will start.  


Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Ty Rattie

Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Derek Ryan

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Michael Leighton

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck, Andrej Nestrasil, Matt Tennyson

Injured: Elias Lindholm (upper body), Eddie Lack (concussion), Bryan Bickell (illness)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Jonathan Toews -- Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Richard Panik

Andrew Desjardins -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Scott Darling

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Michal Rozsival

Injured: Marcus Kruger (hand)


Status report

The Blackhawks are not expected to recall anyone from Rockford prior to the game, which means Tootoo will play after being a healthy scratch Thursdsay. … Hinostroza was promoted to the top line with Toews and Hossa mid-game against Buffalo and will start in that spot. … Lindholm has missed the past three games and is on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 30, when he was injured against Chicago.   


Who's hot

Kane scored in overtime to beat the Sabres on Thursday and had two assists, giving him 12 points (four goals, eight assist) in his past 10 games. … Panarin has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in his past 12 games. … Kempny has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak.

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