NEW YORK – Erik Gustafsson is back in the lineup and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden tonight.
Gustafsson was a healthy scratch the past few games. Coach Joel Quenneville said the young defenseman wasn’t playing as aggressively on the offensive side as he had when he first joined the team. Gustafsson is ready to get back to that game tonight.
“Of course it’s frustrating to be out; you want to play all the time. It’s the coach’s decision and I’m just going to stay positive,” Gustafsson said. “I can’t do anything else: just stay positive and play hard and tonight I’m going to play so I’ll try to show they can trust me out there and play me every game.”
The Blackhawks are going with the same four lines they had in their 7-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. They’d also like to take the momentum from that game, as well as the three-game road trip out of the All-Star break, on which they won all three contests.
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“I think it’s just reminding ourselves of the things we do on a consistent basis that makes us a good team,” Toews said. “We played with a little more energy in the last game, especially early on, to be able to wear that team down and create chances on the power play made the difference. Going forward is the same thing. You look at that little three-game slide we had, we weren’t playing with the speed and energy we need to be playing with,especially this time of year. When we’re able to rectify that, everything else falls into place as far as our team game, our system and just all the details. It all follows suit with energy and effort.”