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Preview: Blackhawks at Coyotes

Chicago juggles line combinations; forward Max Domi may return for Arizona

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (30-17-5) at COYOTES (16-27-6)

9 p.m. ET; FS-A, CSN-CH, NHL.TV


Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks will have Marcus Kruger back in the lineup after he missed a 3-1 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday with an illness. Forward Marian Hossa did not skate Thursday, but coach Joel Quenneville said he is good to go. Chicago has lost five of its past eight games and has scored six goals during its three-game losing streak, leaving Quenneville to juggle the lines in search of a spark. "We're looking for balance, more lines that are both offensively and defensively responsible and consistent," he said. "We've had [more line movement] this year than in other years. Putting it all together and finding a four-line rotation game in and game out is what we're trying to get to. We looked like we were playing better, and then we lose three tough games in a row." Puck possession, a hallmark of Chicago's success under Quenneville over the years, has been missing. "As a team this year, we have been defending more than we have in the past," he said. Goalie Corey Crawford, who is 7-2-2 in his career against the Arizona Coyotes, will start. Backup Scott Darling made 22 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Coyotes on Dec. 6 in Chicago. Hossa had two goals in that game and has 20 in 36 career games against Arizona. The Blackhawks have dominated the series: They are 13-3-4 in their past 20 games against the Coyotes and 8-2-1 in their past 11 games at Gila River Arena.

Coyotes team scope

The Coyotes could have forward Max Domi back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 8. Domi practiced Wednesday and took part in an optional skate Thursday. Coach Dave Tippett said Domi, who has missed 23 games after breaking a bone in his right hand during a fight with Garnet Hathaway of the Calgary Flames, will be a game-time decision. "He's been skating for a month now, so it's not like he's just getting back around it," Tippett said. "He competed hard in practice and didn't look any worse for wear. But we still have to monitor where he is today. We have to make sure." Arizona is 8-14-1 without Domi, whose 16 points are fifth on the Coyotes. "Max is one of our top players, and when a top player is out for a couple of months, he's missed," Tippett said. Arizona's longest winning streak of the season ended at three with a 3-2 loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. The Coyotes have won five of their past seven home games and can end a five-game homestand with four wins. The fourth line of Lawson Crouse, Jordan Martinook and Ryan White has combined for four goals in the past three games; Martinook and White scored Arizona's goals against the Kings. Goalie Mike Smith, who made 37 saves against Los Angeles, will start.


Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen -- Marcus Kruger -- Marian Hossa

Andrew Desjardins -- Tanner Kero -- Ryan Hartman

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Gustav Forsling -- Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Vinnie Hinostroza, Michal Kempny, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Michal Rozsival (lower body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Tobias Rieder -- Martin Hanzal -- Radim Vrbata

Brendan Perlini -- Christian Dvorak -- Shane Doan

Jamie McGinn -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Josh Jooris

Lawson Crouse -- Jordan Martinook -- Ryan White

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski -- Michael Stone

Jakob Chychrun -- Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Peter Holland

Injured: Max Domi (hand), Brad Richardson (broken leg)


Status report

Kruger will center a line with Rasmussen and Hossa. … If Domi does play, his normal spot was with Hanzal and Vrbata, but Rieder has three goals in the past four games playing there.


Who's hot

Toews has two goals and four assists in the past four games. … White has two goals and an assist in a three-game point streak. Crouse has a goal and two assists in the past two games.

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