Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.
1. Anton Forsberg, you're up.
Corey Crawford is expected to miss some time with an upper-body injury, meaning the Blackhawks will have to rely heavily on Forsberg until their starting goaltender is ready to return. It's a good thing Forsberg is well rested, because the upcoming slate will be a busy one.
Tonight is the first of a back-to-back, and a stretch of three games in four days for the Blackhawks against teams who are also fighting for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. And there's a good chance Forsberg will start in all of them, with 32-year-old journeyman Jeff Glass having zero NHL experience.
2. David Kampf's NHL debut.
Lost in the Crawford injury news, the Blackhawks brought up Kampf to help provide some stability up the middle. During Wednesday's practice in Vancouver he was skating in between Alex DeBrincat and Vinnie Hinostroza on the third line. It's a young trio, but there's lots of speed and skill there.
Kampf, 22, is fourth on the AHL's Rockford IceHogs with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 30 games this season, and has seven points (three goals, four assists) over his last seven contests. He's coming in with confidence, and it helps alleviate a bit of pressure that he's playing with fellow IceHogs linemate Hinostroza and 20-year-old DeBrincat.
3. Brock Boeser.
We get it if you haven't watched a Canucks game this season, but this guy is the reason you should.
Boeser, a first-round pick (No. 23 overall) by Vancouver in 2015, has been among the Calder Trophy discussion as the league's top rookie for the entire season, and he's got a hot stick right now. The 20-year-old winger ranks second in the NHL among rookies with 34 points, and has scored a goal in three straight and seven of his past eight games.
Boeser has averaged at least 20 minutes of ice time in his last three games, so expect to see a lot of him, especially on the power play. He has the most goals (six) and points (15) among rookies with the man advantage.