Michal Kempny will draw back into the lineup and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks host the Colorado Avalanche tonight at the United Center.
The Blackhawks have won three in a row and four of their last five games entering tonight’s contest. They’ve gotten great performances out of Crawford and their penalty kill has improved (9 of 9 over the last three games). But they’re still looking for that consistent game across the board.
“Obviously finding a way to win is important, especially in an 82-game schedule. We played a really good game against [Los Angeles] then were a step down in the first period against Calgary,” Duncan Keith said. “We want to focus on having a good start, carrying it through to the second period and set ourselves up for a good third.”
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Kempny was a healthy scratch last game when Gustav Forsling returned to the lineup. Michal Rozsival looks to be the defensive scratch tonight.
Nick Schmaltz has played wing for the Blackhawks recently but coach Joel Quenneville said Schmaltz could be moved to center tonight. Schmaltz centered Dennis Rasmussen and Jordin Tootoo at the morning skate.
Meanwhile, Quenneville said Andrew Desjardins (lower body) is still likely to play Sunday against the Dallas Stars. Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is still not skating; Quenneville said he’s still on the original timeline to come back from his upper-body injury.
COLORADO AVALANCHE VS. BLACKHAWKS
Richard Panik-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Tyler Motte
Dennis Rasmussen-Nick-Schmaltz-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Brian Campbell
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson
INJURIES: Andrew Desjardins (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body).
Gabriel Landeskog-Matt Duchene-Jarome Iginla
Mikhail Grigorenko-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen
Rene Bourque-Carl Soderberg-Blake Comeau
Andreas Martinsen-John Mitchell-Joe Colborne
Nikita Zadorov-Erik Johnson
Francois Beauchemin-Tyson Barrie
Patrick Wiercioch-Fedor Tyutin