Blackhawks

Blackhawks likely switching defensive pairings against Canadiens

Blackhawks likely switching defensive pairings against Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Blackhawks will have their usual top-six defensemen tonight but the pairings won't be the same when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Coach Joel Quenneville was commenting on Brent Seabrook's higher minutes when he added, "we’re going to change the D pairs a little tonight, see how that works out."

The personnel from Sunday shouldn’t change but Quenneville wouldn't divulge the switches.

As for the Canadiens, they have a few familiar faces in Andrew Shaw and Phillip Danault. Danault, who was part of the deal that brought Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise to Chicago last spring, has been having a solid season (10 goals, 22 assists) with the Canadiens.

"Good for him. He's really progressed in the year," Quenneville said of Danault. "He's getting opportunity to play more of an offensive situation. But you like the way he competes, you like the way he works and he added a little offense to his game, as well. You root for a guy like him. He's one of those guys that gives you more than an honest effort every single day. Good progression for him."

Corey Crawford will get the nod in his hometown. In his four NHL games at Bell Centre, Crawford is 2-0-2 with a 1.24 goals against average and .965 save percentage.

BLACKHAWKS AT MONTREAL CANADIENS

6:30 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live stream: CSN Chicago or NBC Sports app

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo

Defensive pairs (projected)

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

INJURIES/ILLNESS: None.

Montreal Canadiens

Forward lines

Max Pacioretty-Alex Galchenyuk-Alexandar Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen-Phillip Danault-Brendan Gallagher

Paul Byron-Tomas Plekanec-Andrew Shaw

Dwight King-Steve Ott-Torrey Mitchell

Defensive Pairs

Andrei Markov-Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin-Jeff Petry

Brandon Davidson-Jordie Benn

Goaltender

Carey Price

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Brian Flynn (upper body).

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.