CALGARY, Alberta – Richard Panik moves up a line and Scott Darling gets the start when the Blackhawks face the Calgary Flames tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Panik, who has two goals in as many games, was bumped up to the third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Tomas Fleischmann. Panik was a healthy scratch for several games but has played well since being put back in it. He and Andrew Shaw were the Blackhawks’ lone scorers against the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars.
The forward, who the Blackhawks acquired in exchange for Jeremy Morin earlier this season, said he kept his confidence up even when he was a scratch.
“There are a lot of great guys and obviously everyone who isn’t playing isn’t happy about it. But that’s how things work. If you don’t play you can’t just say you’re not going to work hard,” Panik said. “You have to keep your focus, and that’s what I tried to do when I didn’t play because when you jump into the lineup you can’t just switch it on. You have to be ready for it, and I think I did a good job with Paul and I feel good on the ice now because of that.”
“Yeah, he’s certainly earned the opportunity to stay in the lineup based on how he’s played,” Coach Joel Quenneville said of Panik. “We don’t mind having options. Five lines right now and two extra defensemen… some nights, some guys won’t be happy. But we like the internal competition.”
Dale Weise looks to be a healthy scratch tonight, as does Dennis Rasmussen and Brandon Mashinter among the forwards. On defense, it looks like Viktor Svedberg is in and Christian Ehrhoff and Erik Gustafsson are potential healthy scratches.
Meanwhile, Corey Crawford (upper body) still isn’t skating but Quenneville said he’s “close.” Quenneville did not want to get into specifics on what Crawford’s injury is but said he believes Crawford will be all right for the postseason.
“We think he’s going to be ready; he’s close but we still don’t see him on the ice,” Quenneville said. “I can’t answer that certainly, but we expect him to be ready.”