The Blackhawks broke out of their scoring slump against one of the league’s worst teams on Tuesday. Now they’ll face one of the best.
Scott Darling will start but Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook will be out when the Blackhawks face the New York Rangers on Friday night at the United Center. Coach Joel Quenneville was hoping at least Toews would skate on Friday but he didn’t. Toews and Seabrook could skate on Saturday but until they do, Quenneville is hesitant to say when they’ll return to game action.
Seabrook will be missing just his third regular-season game since 2012-13. Duncan Keith joked that Seabrook’s absence has meant a quieter locker room — “we’ve gotta talk a little more to get some noise going in here,” he said. But there’s no doubt the Blackhawks will miss Seabrook on the ice.
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“On top of everything he brings off the ice for us he’s been such a durable, important player for this team, this organization. When he’s not out there it’s a weird feeling,” Keith said. “We have to do as best we can to play good hockey and try to fill a huge void you can’t really replace.”Michal Kempny appears to be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Quenneville was asked what Kempny needs to improve upon.
“I just think that consistency without the puck and how he defends in his own end is probably the area that there’s growth there in his game. But I still think our defense is pretty good and we’ve got some tough decisions on a game to game basis. He adds one more guy we feel can play,” Quenneville said. “But I think the depth, that’s a strength, and sometimes that’s part of the decision.”
The Rangers, who have 37 points this season, are coming off a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. While the Rangers got off to a hot start, winning 13 of their first 17 games, they’ve come down to earth lately (5-4-1 in their last 10). Like the Blackhawks, the Rangers have had their injury issues. Rick Nash (groin) and Jimmy Vesey (upper body) are the latest injuries. Vesey was listed as day-to-day; his status for tonight’s game is not yet known.
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Live Stream: CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports app
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger -Marian Hossa
Tyler Motte-Dennis Rasmussen-Richard Panik
Andrew Desjardins-Vinnie Hinostroza-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Gustav Forsling-Michal Rozsival
Jonathan Toews (back), Brent Seabrook (upper body), Corey Crawford (appendix)
Rangers lines (via New York Daily News)
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-J.T. Miller
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Nicklas Jensen-Josh Jooris-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein
Jimmy Vesey (upper body), Rick Nash (groin), Matt Puempel (concussion), Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula), Pavel Buchnevich (back)