Marian Hossa will return but Brian Campbell will likely be a healthy scratch for the second time in four games when the Blackhawks face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Hossa practiced with the Blackhawks on Wednesday and is ready to go. As for Campbell, coach Joel Quenneville said with eight defensemen, tough decisions sometimes have to be made.
“With eight defensemen around, you can say it’s a luxury over the course of 82 games. Sometimes we look at the back-to-backs but in this situation, when we have eight defensemen, performance is probably the most important point on making a decision. When you have eight guys you’re not really disappointed in, we’re making decisions that are close.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
Spencer Abbott, who was recalled on Tuesday night, will start on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Hossa. The Blackhawks will be looking to get back to winning, something they haven’t done at the United Center since Dec. 18.
“Going into the break, we slowed down with our effectiveness at home. That was one of our strengths in the past, finding a way to get in games where we’re getting points, and then finding a way to get the extra point,” Quenneville said. “Being at home, let’s take advantage of it, whether it’s the last change, the crowd, the building, the enthusiasm, and let’s recapture some of the pace we had prior to that stretch.”
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Live stream: CSNChicago.com
Blackhawks forward lines
Spencer Abbott-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Tanner KeroRichard Panik
Andrew Desjardins-Dennis Rasmussen-Vinnie Hinostroza
Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Marcus Kruger (upper body)
Sabres forward lines (via Buffalo News)
Marcus Foligno-Jack Eichel-Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane-Sam Reinhart-Justin Bailey
Derek Grant-Ryan O’Reilly-Brian Gionta
Nicolas Deslauriers-Zemgus Girgensons-Matt Moulson
Josh Gorges-Rasmus Ristolainen
Zach Bogosian-Cody Franson
Justin Falk-Taylor Fedun
Tyler Ennis (groin), Johan Larsson (wrist), Cody Franson (undisclosed), Robin Lehner (hip), Zach Bogosian (sprained MCL), Dmitry Kulikov (back), William Carrier (flu)