Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews questionable vs. Ducks

Jonathan Toews questionable vs. Ducks

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Jonathan Toews is questionable with an upper body injury and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the Anaheim Ducks on Friday afternoon.

Toews did not practice on Thursday but coach Joel Quenneville said there’s a chance Toews could play against the Ducks; the Blackhawks will see how Toews feels tomorrow morning.

The captain left midway through the second period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. Quennville said, as of Thursday afternoon, Toews is day-to-day.

Crawford starting vs. Anaheim makes Scott Darling the likely starter vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, the Blackhawks’ final game of this Circus Trip.

The Blackhawks’ lines had a decidedly different look in Toews’ absence. The second line remained intact (Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane), Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa were together, as were Tyler Motte, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik. Dennis Rasmussen and Andrew Desjardins switched at left wing on the fourth line, also comprised of Marcus Kruger and Jordin Tootoo.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

So if Toews doesn’t go, is the Hartman-Hinostroza-Hossa line designated the top line? If so, it’s a big opportunity for Hinostroza, who’s had some opportunities and scored his first career NHL goal since returning from a concussion.

“Vinnie had some chances last night. I liked his speed in the middle of the ice, thought he had some good chances shooting through the screen off the rush,” Quenneville said. “He gives us a different look with his speed and hustle. With the puck, he’s dangerous for us. That’s why he got an opportunity to move up. Now we’ll see what our lines are going to be tomorrow if Jonny can’t go.”

Hinostroza, who’s felt good since returning to the lineup, is ready for the opportunity if that’s how it plays out.

“Whoever you’re playing with on this team, everyone’s a great player. Me and Hartsy have a lot of chemistry. We played a lot last year and I got to play with Hossa a lot last game. Future Hall of Famer, it’s awesome to learn from him and what he’s saying on the bench after shifts. It’s cool and I think we had a lot of buzz out there today. I don’t know if Toews will be able to go tomorrow. Hopefully he does. If not, I think we’ll be ready to go.”

Four takeaways: Strong start wasted as Blackhawks winless streak extends to five games

Four takeaways: Strong start wasted as Blackhawks winless streak extends to five games

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday:

1. Strong start wasted

The Blackhawks came out of the gates flying. They recorded the first nine shot attempts (four on goal) and didn't allow the Rangers to get their first shot on net until the 6:35 mark.

The Blackhawks were rewarded when Brandon Saad scored at 5:41 to put his team up 1-0. But the Rangers responded with a pair of goals within 4:18 of each other towards the latter stages of the frame to go up 2-1.

It was a tough way for the Blackhawks to go into the first intermission, happy with the start but not the result.

2. High-quality scoring chances

The Blackhawks gave up three goals at 5-on-5 and one empty-netter. And they'll quickly realize when reviewing the tape that they didn't do Collin Delia any favors.

Each of New York's first three goals came from the lower slot area, and they were seemingly all preventable. That's the positive, but also the negative because the Blackhawks are making it tough on themselves.

The Rangers finished with 14 high-danger chances at even strength compared to the Blackhawks' three. Below is a heat map of the shot chart at 5-on-5, courtesy of naturalstattrick.com:

3. Power play stays hot

The Rangers aren't a great team in the penalty kill department. They went into Thursday's game ranked 26th with a 77.1 percent success rate. But they were coming in hot, having killed off 14 in a row in the last three games.

That wasn't enough to stop the Blackhawks' scorching power play, which potted two more on three opportunities (goals by Saad and Alex DeBrincat). It's the seventh straight game the Blackhawks have scored at least one power-play goal, upping their percentage to 37.2 (16-for-43) since Dec. 18 — a span of 14 games, which ranks first over that stretch.

The power play continues to be a bright spot, and the Blackhawks have to be pleased with the consistency of it over the last month now.

4. Strome vs. Strome

For the third time in his NHL career, Dylan Strome went head-to-head with older brother Ryan, the latter of whom had gotten the best of his younger brother in the first two meetings — once when Ryan was with the Islanders and the other when he was with the Oilers, both against Dylan's Coyotes.

But Ryan stayed 3-for-3 against Dylan even though they were both on different teams this time.

Dylan was on the ice against Ryan for 8:46 of 5-on-5 time, which is the most he faced against any other Rangers skater. Ryan's line generated nine scoring chances and allowed only one during that time.

Dylan did get the better of his older brother in the faceoff department (58.3 percent vs. 53.3 percent), but it was Ryan that came away with the result that matters to both of them and that's the two points in the standings.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic

Thirteen of the White Sox top American born prospects are in the Dominican Republic this week for a cultural exchange trip organized by the White Sox, giving players like Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins and Dane Dunning a first-hand experience to learn about the country where many of their Latin teammates like Eloy Jimenez call home. Chuck Garfien speaks with Ryan McGuffey who is covering the trip for NBC Sports Chicago. They talk about the White Sox training academy in the Dominican Republic (3:50), what the players are learning and how they're bonding on the trip (6:30), the crazy atmosphere going to a Dominican Winter League game (11:10), going with Reynaldo Lopez to the home where he grew up (14:40), personal stories from the trip (23:15) and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: