SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane top-line experiment is over and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks tonight at SAP Center.
Marian Hossa was back on the top line and Vinnie Hinostroza gets another shot at that left-wing position. Meanwhile Kane was reunited with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, reforming the line that was do explosive for the Blackhawks last season.
Toews and Kane have had their magic in the past but it just wasn’t working this time. Perhaps putting Toews back with the red-hot Hossa will get Toews’ game going again.
“I think you look at the way Hoss has been playing, he’s been so strong on the puck, keeping plays alive. I think for myself if I wanted to get more chances and create more offense I’ve got to do much of the same,” Toews said. “I have to be harder on the puck. I think in some situations where I make contact, I’m just giving up possession a little too easy so regardless of who I’m playing with, my personal game that’s one of the things I want to focus on knowing the scoring is going to come and be out there with a couple guys who are playing really good hockey right now.”
Hossa has 11 goals through 19 games this season. His great chemistry with that second line left coach Joel Quenneville hesitant to break them up. But considering the Blackhawks’ inconsistent offense – they’ve been shut out twice on this trip, and were also shut out for the first 40 minutes against Vancouver – it was time to make a change.
“[Hossa] was still scoring, and I think he can still score with Jonny, so we still think there’s enough offense to go around with him on another line,” Quenneville said. “But we probably kept them together longer than we thought we would, based on performances.”
Michal Rozsival is back in tonight and Michal Kempny will sit. On the forward side, Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins are expected to be the healthy scratches.
Meanwhile, Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) continues to improve but will not join the Blackhawks on this trip. Quenneville said the defenseman could be ready to play when the team returns home.
BLACKHAWKS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Vinnie Hinostroza-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Tyler Motte-Nick Schmaltz-Ryan Hartman
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Richard Panik
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brian Campbell-Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling-Michal Rozsival
INJURIES: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body).
San Jose Sharks (via CSN Bay Area)
Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi-Logan Couture-Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker-Chris Tierney-Matt Nieto
Micheal Haley-Danny O’Regan-Tommy Wingels
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon-David Schlemko