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Preview: Blackhawks at Bruins

Rookie forwards spark Chicago offense; Matt Beleskey expected to return for Boston

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (28-14-5) at BRUINS (23-19-6)

7 p.m. ET; NHL Network, SN1, TVA Sports, NESN, CSN-CH, NHL.TV


Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks, 5-2-0 in their past seven games, have been leaning on rookies to generate offense. Forwards Vinnie Hinostroza (two goals), Tanner Kero (two) and Nick Schmaltz (one) provided five of Chicago's goals in a 6-4 win at the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. "They're getting goals and lots of opportunities," forward Marian Hossa said. "They're showing they're more comfortable wherever they play and they're bringing lots of energy to our team, and I think that's what we need. So I think they're doing an excellent job." Goaltender Scott Darling will start after Corey Crawford started the past five games. Darling made a season-high 39 saves in his last start, a 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 6. Coach Joel Quenneville said he wanted to get Darling a start because the Blackhawks are on their father-son trip. Defenseman Brian Campbell is one point from 500 in his NHL career.


Bruins team scope

The Boston Bruins have lost back to back games after a 6-5 shootout loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. The Bruins lost despite leading by three goals on two occasions. "It was probably the quietest I think all year on that plane ride home from Detroit," forward David Backes said. "And to me that's a great sign that it hit us in the heart, it hit us where it mattered and we're thinking about how we can be better and turn the tide to be victorious next game out, and that's tonight." Forward Matt Beleskey is expected to return after missing 23 games with a knee injury. "I think so. We'll give him a shot there tonight," coach Claude Julien said. Beleskey has two goals and three assists in 24 games. "I think you've just got to keep it simple and do what I do well and just be hard on pucks, get on the body and just try to find your groove," said Beleskey, who last played Dec. 3. "You can't expect too much in your first game back. You've just got to keep it simple and be able to contribute."


Blackhawks projected lineup

Ryan Hartman -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Tanner Kero -- Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen -- Nick Schmaltz -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk -- Brent Seabrook

Michal Kempny -- Brian Campbell

Scott Darling

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Michal Rozsival, Andrew Desjardins

Injured: Marcus Kruger (hand)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- Frank Vatrano

Tim Schaller -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner -- Riley Nash -- David Backes

Matt Beleskey -- Dominic Moore -- Austin Czarnik

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow -- John-Michael Liles

Tuukka Rask

Zane McIntyre

Scratched: Jimmy Hayes, Anton Blidh

Injured: Kevan Miller (concussion), Colin Miller (lower body)


Status report

Kruger will miss his ninth straight game. … Rask will make his sixth straight start. … Backes shifts back to right wing after playing center for the first time this season Wednesday in Detroit. Colin Miller continued to skate on his own before practice, but will miss his fifth straight game and remains day to day.


Who's hot

Kane has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past seven games. … Kero has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games. … Marchand has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … Bergeron has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games. … Krug has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games.

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