The Blackhawks have had a lot of stability on their lines the last few weeks. That familiarity will be disrupted by injury and illness on Friday night.
Artem Anisimov is out Friday, and the same is likely true for Nick Schmaltz when the Blackhawks host the New York Islanders at the United Center. Anisimov (lower body), who left Wednesday's game early in the second period, skated on Friday morning but was deemed not ready for tonight. Schmaltz, who is sick, did not skate. Coach Joel Quenneville said both could play against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Tanner Kero will probably get the first opportunity to center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. Corey Crawford will start tonight but Scott Darling will not back him up (upper-body injury). Jeff Glass was recalled from Rockford and will serve as Crawford's backup tonight. Look for Ryan Hartman to go onto the top line, where he's played with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik previously this season.
"That line's been doing some really good things with Schmaltzy. If he can't go, I'm looking forward to playing with those two guys," Hartman said. "They're hot right now and hopefully we can keep things going."
This is the second time in as many games the Blackhawks' opponent will be on a back-to-back. The Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 5-4 on Thursday night.
Johnny Oduya skated on Friday but, again, he's not expected to play until March 9. Quenneville is hoping the same scenario for Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), who hasn't started skating yet but could in the next few days.
Friday's projected lines and defensive pairings:
Ryan Hartman, Jonathan Toews, Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin, Tanner Kero, Patrick Kane
Tomas Jurco, Marcus Kruger, Marian Hossa
Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen, Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith and Trevor van Riemsdyk
Michal Kempny and Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell and Michal Rozsival
Injuries and illnesses: Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), Artem Anisimov (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (ill)
Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Josh Ho-Sang
Shane Prince, Ryan Strome, Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin, Stephen Gionta, Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey and Scott Mayfield
Calvin de Haan and Dennis Seidenberg
Injuries and illnesses: Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Travis Hamonic (knee), Casey Cizikas (hand)