The Chicago Blackhawks take on the LA Kings tonight at 7 pm at the United Center. They are looking to turn things around after a disappointing road trip in which they fell to division rivals the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars. Look for the Hawks to come out angry and with something to prove in front of their home crowd tonight. But it won’t be easy; the Kings are no slouches, and they love to push the Chicago Blackhawks around.
With that being said, the Hawks are doing their best to prepare for a heated matchup. They practiced Sunday and this morning. Sunday’s gathering featured battle drills, which usually happens after a few losses. This is Coach Quenneville’s way of expressing his displeasure in regard to their recent effort around the puck.
Here are the lineups from this morning’s practice:
I don’t believe it! By that, I’m referring to the third and fourth lines. These were essentially the stated lines before the last tilt against Dallas, but Dale Weise played most of the game up with Teuvo Teravainen and Tomas Fleischmann. I could see the same thing happening tonight.
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In the meantime, it looks like Brandon Mashinter draws back into the lineup, after being a healthy scratch last Friday in favor of Richard Panik. Panik is currently on the outside looking in, as well as Dennis Rasmussen. Look for these to be your healthy scratches tonight.
Speaking of the fourth line, Marcus Kruger practiced with the team the last two days. Coach Q announced on Sunday that his projected return is scheduled for some time during the four game road trip that starts in Calgary on Friday, March 26th.
When Kruger returns, he will most likely take over centering the fourth line, with Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw on his wings. These three had great success together during last year’€™s playoffs. If they can pick up where they left off, the Chicago Blackhawks could have a formidable four-line rotation, with scoring threats on every line.
Moving on to defense, Michal Rozsival also practiced with the team the last two days, and he will play tonight. I have a soft spot for ol’ Rozy, who has picked up 3 assists in his last two games before being out Friday with a minor injury. Let’€™s hope Rozy can have another strong showing tonight.
Christian Ehrhoff will be the healthy scratch on defense against his old team.
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It will be interesting to see whether Erik Gustafsson or Trevor van Riemsdyk will line up next to Brent Seabrook tonight on the second pairing. TVR has had that slot for the last few games, but Gusty has had some success with Seabs in the past. I assume whoever doesn’t draw in with Seabrook will be with Rosy on the third pairing.
On a side note, it’s Erik Gustafsson’s birthday today! Happy Birthday Gusty!
As expected, Corey Crawford will start in net.
One final note:
Apparently Laz is giving the Chicago Blackhawks a vote of confidence! I hope heâ€™s right! Is it 7 pm yet?!
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