Ryan Garbutt returns to Blackhawks lineup vs. Oilers


Ryan Garbutt returns to Blackhawks lineup vs. Oilers

Ryan Garbutt is back in the lineup and Corey Crawford will get the start when the Blackhawks host the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night at the United Center.

Garbutt was a healthy scratch the Blackhawks’ last three games. He skated during morning skate on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Desjardins.

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“He’s a reliable guy as far as going up and down the wing. He gives us some speed, gives us some energy. That’s what we’re looking for,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think he and [Brandon Mashinter] do comparable things, but I think Garbs has some experience. We’re looking for that as well.”

Marian Hossa did not practice but will play against the Oilers. Mashinter is expected to be the healthy forward scratch; David Rundblad is the likely defensive scratch. While Crawford was in net during a 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, he still has given up just four goals in his last six starts — Colorado’s last goal was an empty netter.

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The Blackhawks will host an Oilers group that’s been on a hot streak lately. Edmonton won six in a row before losing to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Taylor Hall has six goals and four assists over his last six games.

“I think overall the team game’s more balanced,” Quenneville said of the Oilers. “They’re better with the puck on all four lines; don’t have to defend as much. More responsible in both ends, deeper and eventually getting better.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: