MONTREAL – Erik Gustafsson is out but Artem Anisimov will be back in when the Blackhawks face the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the BellCentre.
Gustafsson skated this morning but left the session early. Coach Joel Quenneville said the defenseman is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
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“It’s not too bad,” Quenneville said of Gustafsson’s injury. “Just residue from the other night.”
How the defensive pairings shake out in Gustafsson's absence is unclear. Gustafsson had a steady role as the Blackhawks' No. 5 defenseman, with Michal Rozsival and Rob Scuderi rotating in that No. 6 spot.
Meanwhile, Anisimov, who was a late scratch due to illness on Tuesday night, is flying into Montreal and is expected to play tonight. With Anisimov’s return, it’s expected that Teuvo Teravainen go back to right wing on the third line with Andrew Desjardins and Phillip Danault. That trio was finding success before Teravainen filled second-line center duties in Anisimov’s absence on Tuesday. Richard Panik, who made his Blackhawks debut Tuesday, could end up on the fourth line with Dennis Rasmussen and Ryan Garbutt.
Corey Crawford, who has won his last six starts, gets the nod tonight.
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Quenneville tied Al Arbour for the second-most victories by an NHL coach on Tuesday night. He has the chance to have that record for himself with his next victory. Quenneville said he hasn’t thought much about the milestone, which coincided with him signing a three-year extension with the Blackhawks that takes him through 2019-20.
“As a coach you’re just thinking of your team and the next opponent and how to prepare for that,” Quenneville said. “I’m fortunate on how things have gone here. You just concentrate on the next opponent.”