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Blackhawks at Flyers preview

Chicago juggles lines in hopes of sparking offense; Elliott to start for Philadelphia

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

BLACKHAWKS (7-6-2) at FLYERS (7-6-2)

7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV


The Game

The Chicago Blackhawks will have center Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane on the same line when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

It's the first time this season the Blackhawks have played Toews and Kane together at 5-on-5. Patrick Sharp will play left wing.

Goaltender Brian Elliott will start for the Flyers, who are playing for the first time since a 5-4 shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.


Players to watch

Nick Schmaltz, 21, will center a line for the Blackhawks that includes left wing Alex DeBrincat (19) and right wing Ryan Hartman (23). Coach Joel Quenneville said he hopes the youthful energy from that line can provide an offensive spark.

Center Sean Couturier is tied for the Flyers' lead with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists), and is their best defensive center. He'll likely be matched head-to-head with the Toews line and be asked to produce offensively.

They said it

"In the past we've always gone with the balanced look. Had [Jonathan Toews] on one line, [Patrick Kane] on another line, and there's enough production there. It's tough to check for an opponent. Right now we're not scoring on all the lines. So maybe get one line at least to spark our scoring, that's what we're looking at." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

"We'll match lines once in a while. No matter who that is you have to be aware. At home it makes it a little easier. Whether they're on the power play or 5-on-5, you have to be aware of those guys." -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning, on playing against Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of Chicago


Blackhawks projected lineup

Patrick Sharp -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Brandon Saad -- Artem Anisimov -- Richard Panik

Alex DeBrincat -- Nick Schmaltz -- Ryan Hartman

Lance Bouma -- Tommy Wingels -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Jan Rutta

Gustav Forsling -- Brent Seabrook

Connor Murphy -- Cody Franson

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Tanner Kero, Jordan Oesterle, Michal Kempny

Injured: Michal Rozsival (upper body)


Flyers projected lineup

Claude Giroux -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Jordan Weal -- Jori Lehtera -- Dale Weise

Taylor Leier -- Scott Laughton -- Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov -- Robert Hagg

Brandon Manning -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim -- Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Matt Read, Mark Alt

Injured: Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Nolan Patrick (upper body)


Status report

Crawford will start for the seventh time in eight games. … Patrick skated on his own Thursday. and will miss his seventh straight game. However, the Flyers hope he will return to practice soon and be able to join them on a two-game road trip that starts at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. 


Stat pack

Crawford has allowed two goals or fewer in four straight starts. Anisimov has four goals in his past five games. … Couturier has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past seven games. 

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