Tyler Motte will start where he finished the last game, on the second line, but Vinnie Hinostroza is questionable for the Blackhawks when they face the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night at the United Center.
Hinstroza did not skate on Friday morning due to illness. Michal Kempny took his place on the Blackhawks’ second line in rushes. If Hinostroza cannot play, coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll dress seven defensemen.
“We’ve had a lot of chances in games where we’ve had guys out for big parts of this game,” Quenneville said. “We’ll move it around. (Patrick Kane) has played a lot of shifts out there, as well. We have a lot of options interchanging the lines that we’ll probably see.”
As for Motte, he moved up with Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza after Marian Hossa suffered an upper-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. Motte, who hadn’t scored a goal since Nov. 1, recorded his fourth of the season in the second period.
“It’ll be nice to pay with those guys again, keep building off that chemistry, maybe see more minutes, more offensive-zone draws, more opportunities. But my game can’t change,” Motte said on Thursday. “I gotta continue to get better in the (defensive) zone, shut down the other teams’ chances in our end and make our transition game quick and create offensive opportunities.”
Corey Crawford, returning from appendicitis, will make his first start since Dec. 1.
Tanner Kero will play on the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo. He was recalled on Thursday when the Blackhawks placed Artem Anisimov (upper body) on injured reserve.
The Blackhawks will face an Avalanche team that has struggled this season. They have lost five in a row entering Friday’s game; they’ve also been shut out in their last two contests, including a 6-0 loss to Toronto on Thursday night.
Regardless of what happens, the Blackhawks will finish the pre-Christmas schedule atop the Western Conference.
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Watch the Blackhawks take on the Avalanche on Friday night on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. followed by all the action from the United Center at 7:30 p.m. You can also catch a live stream of the game right here on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app.
Blackhawks' projected lineup
Artemi Panarin, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tyler Motte
Dennis Rasmussen, Marcus Kruger, Richard Panik
Andrew Desjardins, Tanner Kero, Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith and Trevor van Riemsdyk
Brian Campbell and Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling and Niklas Hjalmarsson
Artem Anisimov (upper body), Marian Hossa (upper body).
Avalanche's projected lineup
Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen
Joe Colborne, Matt Duchene, Rene Bourque
Blake Comeau, Carl Soderberg, Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen, John Mitchell, Cody McLeod
Fedor Tyutin and Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov and Patrick Wiercioch
Francois Beauchemin and Cody Goloubef