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Lightning at Blackhawks preview

Kucherov out for Tampa Bay with upper-body injury; Chicago eyes sixth victory in eight games

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (9-7-2) at BLACKHAWKS (9-8-4)

8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, SUN, NHL.TV


The Game

Nikita Kucherov will not play for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Thursday because of an upper-body injury.

The forward took a hard check from St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn during the second period of a 3-1 loss on Tuesday and left the ice immediately. Kucherov's injury is not concussion-related, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Tampa Bay has lost two straight following a three-game winning streak.

The Blackhawks look for their sixth victory in eight games (5-1-1) after going 2-5-2 in their previous nine games.

Forward Patrick Kane has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in a 10-game point streak. 


Players to watch

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak. 

Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak. 


They said it

"We're giving up way too many goals and for us it's a mentality. It's not systems, it's not that, it's just a mentality on our team. We've addressed that and I think everyone's aware of what we have to do to eliminate scoring chances." -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman

"I think [the Lightning] played well against St. Louis, especially in the beginning of the game and St. Louis is a really good team. That's probably the type of style they are looking to get to. We're ready for them. They are going to be hard on us and obviously they've got some skill we've got to be aware of. It's going to be a good test." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Steven Stamkos

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Cory Conacher

Yanni Gourde -- Anthony Cirelli -- Mathieu Joseph

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette

Victor Hedman -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Jan Rutta

Luke Schenn

Curtis McElhinney

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Braydon Coburn, Carter Verhaeghe

Injured: Nikita Kucherov (upper body)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Alex Nylander

Alex DeBrincat -- Dylan Strome -- Patrick Kane

Andrew Shaw -- David Kampf -- Dominik Kubalik

Ryan Carpenter -- Kirby Dach -- Zack Smith

Duncan Keith -- Erik Gustafsson

Calvin de Haan -- Brent Seabrook

Olli Maatta -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Slater Koekkoek

Injured: Drake Caggiula (concussion)


Status report

The Blackhawks held an optional skate; Colliton said he wouldn't finalize a lineup until close to game time. … Shaw was on the ice Thursday after missing practice Wednesday with a sore right hip. … The Lightning are expected to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen.


Stat pack

Stamkos has 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 15 games against Chicago. … Killorn has seven points (three goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak. … Crawford is 3-0-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in his past five starts. … Kane, who has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 17 games against Tampa Bay, needs one assist for 600 in the NHL.

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