A week ago, the Blackhawks rolled an Edmonton Oilers team that was lackluster coming off their bye week. Now the Blackhawks will try to avoid the same fate.
Corey Crawford will start and Michal Kempny returns to the lineup when the Blackhawks host the Oiler Saturday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks are coming off their six-day bye following their Ice Show trip, during which they went on a five-game winning streak.
The Oilers, meanwhile, have gotten their legs back under them. After falling to the Blackhawks, they rattled off a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes and a 6-3 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks don’t want to come off the bye week the way the Oilers did last Saturday.
“We had a really good game against Edmonton away. We have to play the same way here tonight, get to the same pace,” Dennis Rasmussen said. “But it’s really important to have short shifts in the beginning, being off a couple of days.”
Most teams haven’t been successful coming off the bye week. Here’s the breakdown of how teams have done thus far (keep in mind, even if a team had the five-day break, they could practice after 4 p.m. local time on the fifth day):
|Los Angeles Kings||6||L|
|New Jersey Devils||5||L|
|New York Islanders||5||OTL|
|New York Rangers||5||L|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||5||W|
The Blackhawks made three changes to the lineup out of last Saturday’s game, including Crawford getting back in net. Kempny is back in (Gustav Forsling remains in Rockford) and Andrew Desjardins draws back into the lineup (Vinnie Hinostroza also stayed in Rockford).
Regardless of lineup, the Blackhawks want to come out strong and stay that way.
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“Concerns are when we’re playing a team in that situation, where it’s like the start of the season, coming off breaks, we’re always emphasizing shooting the puck, getting traffic at the net. Being ready to play with the mental and simple approach is what we’re trying to do and making sure that there’s a purpose behind how we’re ready to start,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Especially against a quick team like this, we want to make sure we’re going to be aware of their rush game and their transition game. That’s why we want to be simple and ready.”
Time: 6 p.m.
TV: WGN, NHL Network
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Blackhawks forward lines
Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Andrew Desjardins
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Oilers forward lines (via team website)
Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Jordan Eberle
Milan Lucic-Leon Draisaitl-Anton Slepyshev
Drake Caggiula-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Zack Kassian
Matt Hendricks-Mark Letestu-Iiro Pakarinen
Andrej Sekera-Matt Benning
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Brandon Davidson-Eric Gryba
Jujhar Khaira (wrist), Darnell Nurse (ankle), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Kris Russel (undisclosed)