ST. PAUL, Minn. — Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t be able to speak but he will be able to play when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their second-round series on Tuesday night.
Hjalmarsson took a puck to the throat in Game 2 on Sunday; he was down several moments but finished the game, playing just over 20 minutes. He blocked four shots, although all four of them came in the first period. Hjalmarsson was wearing something around his neck at Tuesday’s morning skate.
Communication will obviously be a tricky component tonight for Hjalmarsson, but coach Joel Quenneville said the defenseman should be fine.
“He’s pretty aware of how to play the game, and those types of situations. Maybe he’s got to adapt a little bit, but for the most part, we expect him not to change too much,” Quenneville said. “Obviously you like to talk to the goalie playing it, your partner, whether he’s got an out or you’re the out, sometimes that can be beneficial. But I think we’re familiar with a lot, and he’s familiar with the players around him and changes as well and (let’s) make sure we’re sharp on the bench.”
Andrew Shaw is out again tonight with an apparent right-leg injury, and Quenneville said on Monday that the forward could be back for Game 4 on Friday. The first run of forward lines Tuesday morning featured Jeremy Morin at left wing with Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg; on the second run, Brandon Bollig, who was scratched in Game 2, was in that left-wing spot.
Quenneville wasn’t saying if Morin was in tonight.
“We’ve got a couple of decisions,” he said.
Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks while Ilya Bryzgalov gets the nod for the Wild.