Scott Darling will start and Marian Hossa is expected to be back in the lineup when the Blackhawks face the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Per the NHL, there are a couple of ways the Blackhawks could clinch a playoff spot tonight:
- If they beat the Avalanche in regulation or overtime and the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Calgary Flames in any fashion or beat the Flames in a shootout. Or,
- if they beat the Avalanche in a shootout and the Kings lose to the Flames in any way. Or,
- if they get one point against the Avalanche and the Kings lose to the Flames in regulation.
Hossa missed Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury but coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa is “likely” to play vs. the Avalanche. The last time the Blackhawks had a back-to-back Quenneville rested Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya, both of whom were coming off recent injuries. Quenneville said, “maybe one of them might not play” vs. the Avalanche. It seems it’s more likely to be a rest night for Oduya.
The Blackhawks have won four in a row and, entering Sunday night’s games, hold a five-point lead over the Minnesota Wild, who are playing the Winnipeg Jets. Although the Wild have lost four games in a row – a season high for them – Quenneville isn’t expecting that skid to last.
“I see them finding a way to get some points here,” he said. “I know everyone has good and bad streaks. We’ve seen a streaky year from a lot of teams that had excellent runs and they had a big run. We still think they’re a very dangerous team, capable of winning every single night, and [have] real balance to their lineup. Don’t get comfortable being in the position we’re in. We were in the position they’re [now] in earlier in the year and they were in the position we’re in today, so let’s just keep trying to push ahead.”
The Avalanche have lost three of four, including a 5-1 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
Time: 6 p.m.
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Chicago Blackhawks (projected)
John Hayden-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Nick Schmaltz-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa
Andrew Desjardins-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Injuries/illness: Artem Anisimov (left leg)
Colorado Avalanche (projected)
Gabriel Landeskog-Matt Duchene-Rene Bourque
Sven Andrighetto-Nathan Mackinnon-Mikko Rantanen
John Mitchell-Carl Soderberg-Blake Comeau
Mikhail Grigorenko-JT Compher-Joe Colborne
Erik Johnson-Mark Barberio
Fedor Tyutin-Tyson Barrie
Anton Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Injuries/illness:: Semyon Varlamov (hip), Nikita Zadorov (broken ankle), Matt Nieto (knee)