Scott Darling will get the start and Vinnie Hinostroza returns to the lineup when the Blackhawks host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the United Center.
Darling came in to relieve Corey Crawford in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday but this will be his first start since Jan. 22 (vs. the Florida Panthers).
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Meanwhile Hinostroza, who made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in October, is back tonight after the Blackhawks recalled him on Sunday. Hinostroza leads the Rockford IceHogs with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 41 games this season.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity,” said Hinostroza. “I definitely think I’m a lot more prepared. I played a lot more pro games and got to know the game a lot better. I think this time I’m for sure a lot more prepared than last time. I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity.”
Erik Gustafsson will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Coach Joel Quenneville said the young defenseman has to be more aggressive on the offensive attack much like he was when he first came up this season.
“He came in and played extremely well and as a young player, we’re not complaining about his game. He just wasn’t as involved in the attack in the offensive part from the back end. That’s something that’s noticeable and he can really enhance our team game with it,” Quenneville said. “He hasn’t been as active as he needs to be, and that’s one area where he can help himself and help our team game as well. Defensively he’s been OK but I think he brought us energy right off the bat with him involved in the attack and with the puck.”
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The Blackhawks are trying to get at least one victory on what they figured would be a more successful home stand than it’s been. Instead they’re winless in their last three at the United Center (0-2-1).
“It’s not going to be an easy game,” Quenneville said. “We have to make sure we’re playing the right way. We want to salvage this home stand here and play the right way. We haven’t had our energy level, our pace to our game at that all-out level that we’re going to need tonight. It’d be nice to recapture that because you can feel the difference when it’s not there.”
On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.
They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?
Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.
The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.
Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.
"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."
Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.
"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.
"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."
The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.
Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.
"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."