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Blackhawks' Panarin to return vs. Ducks

Forward leads all rookies with 52 points

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

DUCKS (26-19-8) AT BLACKHAWKS (36-18-4)

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN, PRIME, FS-SD, WGN

CHICAGO -- Artemi Panarin will return to the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks when they play the Anaheim Ducks at United Center on Saturday.

Panarin, 24, has missed the past two games with an illness. The Blackhawks lost both games, on home ice, including a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. Panarin was one of 15 players who participated in Chicago's optional morning skate.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is looking forward to getting the rookie back at left wing on Chicago's most productive line, which includes center Artem Anisimov and right wing Patrick Kane.

"He's good in tight areas," Quenneville said. "He comes up with a lot of loose pucks. He protects the puck extremely well and in tight areas can make plays ... you usually measure good hockey players as guys who come up with loose pucks and he does more than his fair share. And he can make plays out of those areas, which is even better."

Panarin leads all rookies with 52 points in 56 games and has 18 goals, which is tied for the lead among rookies with Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin.

"He's been an important player for us right from the outset there, but he's dangerous," Quenneville said. "He gives that line another threat and our offense was a little light the last two games. That line's been consistent and we'll give him some credit for us missing him a little bit, but we need to be better than we were across the board."

Quenneville is looking to shake things up against the Ducks.

It appears rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson or second-year defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk will be a healthy scratch. Rookie defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who's 6-foot-8, was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Friday and Quenneville said it wasn't an injury-related decision.

Svedberg will play, along with veteran Michal Rozsival. Quenneville didn't say which defenseman would sit out, and said changes were coming with the forward lines as well.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford will make his sixth straight since the All-Star break. Crawford, who was replaced after allowing four goals in the first period against Dallas, is 11-4-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 17 career games against Anaheim.

The Ducks, who practiced Friday in Chicago, didn't have a morning skate. 

They won't have forward Chris Stewart, who likely has an upper-body injury after a fight during Anaheim's 3-2 shootout loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Stewart was sent back to Anaheim on Friday to be examined.

The fight was against Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout, who caught Ryan Getzlaf with a shot to the nose during a scrum. Getzlaf stayed off the ice for practice Friday, but is expected to play. Defenseman Sami Vatanen didn't practice either, but could play.

Goalie John Gibson is expected to start for the Ducks, who are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and 6-1-1 since acquiring forward Ryan Garbutt from the Blackhawks for forward Jiri Sekac.

Garbutt and Sekac are looking forward to playing their former teams.

"It's always fun to play against a team like that," Sekac said. "This gives you a little extra push, kind of just to prove they were wrong. So, that's what I'm going to try and do."

Garbutt, who was acquired by Chicago in an offseason trade with the Dallas Stars, was a lineup regular on the fourth line for the Blackhawks. He was traded to the Ducks on Jan. 21, the day their franchise-record 12-game win streak ended with a 2-1 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I think when you get traded in the middle of a win streak, it's a little bit of a shock," Garbutt said. "That was probably the biggest thing for me. We were on a 12-game win streak and I got traded right before the game [going] for 13. Other than that, it's a business move, and you've got to deal with that as a player."

Garbutt had six points (two goals) in 43 games for the Blackhawks. He has three goals and four points in eight games for the Ducks, including a goal against the Blue Jackets.

"I think it's been a good fit for sure, maybe a little bit more my style," Garbutt said. "I thought we had a really good team [in Chicago] and I was contributing in a fourth-line role that wasn't producing much offensively, but on a team with that much firepower on the first two lines, you didn't need to [score] as much. I don't think it was a [matter] of not fitting in. It was just maybe a good trade for both teams."

Sekac, who had a goal and two assists in 22 games for Anaheim, has no points in four games for the Blackhawks.

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

David Perron - Rickard Rakell - Nick Ritchie

Ryan Garbutt - Nate Thompson - Mike Santorelli

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Simon Despres - Sami Vatanen

John Gibson

Frederik Andersen

Injured: Chris Stewart (undisclosed)

Scratched: Harry Zolnierczyk, Korbinian Holzer,  


Andrew Shaw - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Marian Hossa

Jiri Sekac - Phillip Danault - Teuvo Teravainen

Andrew Desjardins - Dennis Rasmussen - Brandon Mashinter

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Viktor Svedberg - Brent Seabrook

Trevor Van Riemsdyk - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: Marcus Kruger (left wrist fracture)

Scratched: Rob Scuderi, Erik Gustafsson, Richard Panik

Status report: Chicago had 14 players skate in the morning and didn't go through line rushes. Sekac might play with Toews and Hossa or replace Desjardins on the third line, which has produced three goals in the past 17 games. ... Zolnierczyk, who was recalled from San Diego of the AHL on Feb. 2, has yet to play for Anaheim.

Who's hot: Toews had two assists against the Stars on Thursday and has seven for the season. ... Getzlaf has eight points (two goals) in the past five games, finishing with multiple points in four them.


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