Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews will play and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
Neither Keith nor Toews skated this morning but it was just a rest day for both of them, coach Joel Quenneville said.
Brandon Mashinter was back on the fourth line with Richard Panik and Dennis Rasmussen. Jiri Sekac, who made his Blackhawks debut on Friday, skated in Toews’ place at morning skate and looks to be a healthy scratch tonight.
The Blackhawks have been trying to get their rest when they can, which hasn’t been easy given their incredibly busy schedule. Tonight marks their 52nd game of the season. They’ll get no sympathy from the Blues, who have played the same amount.
“I think both teams are in the same place,” Quenneville said. “We’ve played a real busy month here. There’s some time off down the road but it’s an important game for both teams and both teams have played well through this stretch. It’s a great test for us here. They have balance to their lineup, guys returningfrom injury, so they’re deeper than they’ve been most of the season. So it’ll be a good challenge to see how we bounce back off these two tough losses. We have to try to play a real good team game tonight.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
The Blackhawks won a franchise-best 12 in a row before losing their last two. St. Louis is 5-1-4 in their last 10; they’re getting points but there were several games in which they blew late regulation leads and ended up overtime or shootout losses. The Blackhawks looked like they were fatigued in their 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday night. Still, regardless of where their energy level is, they usually don’t need much motivation to get ready for the Blues.
“I mean, obviously it’s a big rivalry and against this team we always find a way to bring our best,” Marian Hossa said. “After two not-really-good games in Florida, we need to bounce back.”