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Hurricanes at Blackhawks preview

Darling returns to Chicago, hopes to get Carolina back in playoff race

by Charlie Roumeliotis / Correspondent

HURRICANES (29-27-11) at BLACKHAWKS (29-30-8)

8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-CR, NHL.TV


The Game

The Carolina Hurricanes will look to avoid their third consecutive loss when they play the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Thursday.

Goalie Scott Darling will start in his first game back to Chicago since being traded in the offseason to the Hurricanes, who are four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Blackhawks will look to win at home for the fifth time in six games after going 0-6-1 in their previous seven. They trail the Los Angeles Kings by 11 points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Players to watch

Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen has six goals in his past eight games after going 10 straight without one.

Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past three games after going pointless in his previous five.


They said it

"It's obviously a day I've had circled on my calendar. I had a great experience here, you guys know, I'm from here. It'll be great to have all my family at the game just like it used to be when I was here. I've been really excited about it." -- Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling on returning to Chicago

"We've got our leaders, our top guys, they're great pros and they want to be competitive as heck and play the right way. It's fun doing things like that. You play hard, you have more fun doing it that way and winning goes along with that as well." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on playing spoiler


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Elias Lindholm -- Teuvo Teravainen

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Phillip Di Giuseppe

Joakim Nordstrom -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Jaccob Slavin -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Brett Pesce

Haydn Fleury -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Scott Darling

Cam Ward

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck

Injured: None

Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- Nick Schmaltz -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Matthew Highmore -- Artem Anisimov -- Tomas Jurco

Patrick Sharp -- David Kampf -- Anthony Duclair

Duncan Keith -- Connor Murphy

Erik Gustafsson -- Brent Seabrook

Jordan Oesterle -- Jan Rutta

J-F Berube

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Carl Dahlstrom

Injured: Corey Crawford (upper body)


Status report

The Hurricanes announced Wednesday that general manager Ron Francis will transition into a new role as president of hockey operations. ... Nordstrom is expected to be cleared to return after missing four games with an eye injury. ... The Hurricanes assigned forward Lucas Wallmark to Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. ... The Blackhawks agreed to terms with Rutta on a one-year contract extension. He will return to the lineup after missing four games with a lower-body injury.

Stat pack

The Hurricanes have scored two goals or fewer in seven of the past 10 games. ... Kane has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past nine games after a five-game point drought.

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