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.”

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

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