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Blackhawks at Devils preview

Hughes returns to New Jersey lineup; Crawford in goal for Chicago looking for 250th NHL win

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

BLACKHAWKS (11-12-5) AT DEVILS (9-14-4)



The Game

Jack Hughes will return to the lineup for the New Jersey Devils against the Chicago Blackhawks at Prudential Center on Friday.

The center, chosen with the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, missed the past three games after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 6-4 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 28.

Alain Nasreddine, who replaced John Hynes as Devils coach Tuesday, seeks his first NHL win after New Jersey lost 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Devils have been outscored 15-4 while losing three straight games.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is expected to start after Robin Lehner made 37 saves in a 4-3 overtime win at the Boston Bruins on Thursday that ended Chicago's three-game losing streak.


Players to watch

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in his past 17 games.

Devils center Nico Hischier has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past nine games.


They said it

"We can build off games like this (against Boston). We had the start we needed and carried it through 60 (minutes) for the most part. It's got to be a confidence-builder when you beat a team like Boston in their own building. But what matters is what we do next." -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews

"[Hughes] is ready to go tonight and he made sure I knew that yesterday. That's what great about him. He wants to play and wants to play every game, wants to compete. So he's ready to go." -- Devils coach Alain Nasreddine


Blackhawks projected lineup

Alex Nylander -- Jonathan Toews -- Brandon Saad

Alex DeBrincat -- Dylan Strome -- Patrick Kane

Zack Smith -- Kirby Dach -- Ryan Carpenter 

Dominik Kubalik -- David Kampf -- Anton Wedin

Calvin de Haan -- Brent Seabrook

Slater Koekkoek -- Connor Murphy

Dennis Gilbert -- Erik Gustafsson

Corey Crawford

Robin Lehner

Scratched: None

Injured: Duncan Keith (groin), Drake Caggiula (concussion), Andrew Shaw (concussion), Olli Maatta (illness)


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Miles Wood -- Jack Hughes -- Wayne Simmonds

Jesper Boqvist -- Pavel Zacha -- Jesper Bratt

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Will Butcher -- P.K. Subban

Mirco Mueller -- Sami Vatanen

Mackenzie Blackwood

Louis Domingue

Scratched: John Hayden

Injured: Connor Carrick (finger), Matt Tennyson (upper body)


Status report

The Blackhawks did not hold a morning skate and the Devils held an optional skate. ... Chicago placed Keith and Shaw on injured reserve Friday. Keith is retroactive to Nov. 29; Shaw to Nov. 30. ... New Jersey placed Tennyson on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 3. ... Nasreddine said the Devils will not lend Hughes to the U.S. National Junior Team for participation in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. The tournament will be held in the Czech Republic from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2020.

Stat pack

Crawford is one win from 250 in the NHL. ... Gusev has four assists in his past four games. Coleman has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past six games.

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