Duncan Keith will play after resting in the morning and Corey Crawford will start when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild tonight at the United Center.
Andrew Shaw will play his first game as the Blackhawks’ top-line center, as the team’s lines were understandably shuffled without Patrick Kane (left leg) and Jonathan Toews (apparent shoulder injury). Shaw was anchoring Patrick Sharp – who took a maintenance day on Wednesday – and Marian Hossa.
Joakim Nordstrom, who was recalled from Rockford on Wednesday, will play tonight. He was centering Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeeg during the morning skate.
Michal Handzus, Matt Carey and Teuvo Teravainen will not play tonight vs. the Wild. Coach Joel Quenneville said Handzus and Teravainen could play Friday vs. Columbus. Michal Rozsival (lower body) is out tonight; Quenneville said Rozsival is “likely” to play vs. the Blue Jackets.
Speaking of Kane, Quenneville said the Blackhawks right wing could start skating again “as early as (Friday).” Kane is still out the rest of the regular season.
As for tonight’s game vs. Minnesota, the Blackhawks want to get back to playing smart, simple hockey. With two big weapons out of their lineup, they don’t want to get too cute.
“(The Wild) had a heck of a trip, won some big games in tough buildings. They’re playing playoff hockey, playing the right way and we’re expecting a tough game. It’s meaningful for them. But we have to bring meaning ourselves,” Quenneville said. “Without (Kane and Toews)… that’s why we’re looking to play a tight, simple game. We won’t have the same skill across the board but it’s a situation where we have to play the right way, play simple and play tight.”