Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Erik Gustafsson back in lineup vs. Rangers

gustafsson-slide-0217.png

Blackhawks: Erik Gustafsson back in lineup vs. Rangers

NEW YORK – Erik Gustafsson is back in the lineup and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden tonight.

Gustafsson was a healthy scratch the past few games. Coach Joel Quenneville said the young defenseman wasn’t playing as aggressively on the offensive side as he had when he first joined the team. Gustafsson is ready to get back to that game tonight.

“Of course it’s frustrating to be out; you want to play all the time. It’s the coach’s decision and I’m just going to stay positive,” Gustafsson said. “I can’t do anything else: just stay positive and play hard and tonight I’m going to play so I’ll try to show they can trust me out there and play me every game.”

The Blackhawks are going with the same four lines they had in their 7-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. They’d also like to take the momentum from that game, as well as the three-game road trip out of the All-Star break, on which they won all three contests.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear here]

“I think it’s just reminding ourselves of the things we do on a consistent basis that makes us a good team,” Toews said. “We played with a little more energy in the last game, especially early on, to be able to wear that team down and create chances on the power play made the difference. Going forward is the same thing. You look at that little three-game slide we had, we weren’t playing with the speed and energy we need to be playing with,especially this time of year. When we’re able to rectify that, everything else falls into place as far as our team game, our system and just all the details. It all follows suit with energy and effort.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.

The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.

He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.

Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.

Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.

Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

corey_crawford_blackhawks.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

Mark Lazerus and Hub Arkush join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Corey Crawford’s return and what it means for the team’s playoff chances.

Khalil Mack misses practice again. The guys debate if it would be better to leave him out vs. the Patriots.

The latest on the MLB playoffs with controversy in Houston and gamesmanship by the Brewers.

Will Perdue and Kendall Gill join the panel to discuss Kris Dunn’s absence from the opener and the team’s playoff chances this season.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.

Subscribe: