MONTREAL, Quebec — Corey Crawford will start in his hometown and Mike Kostka will be the sixth defenseman when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre.
Crawford, who is coming off a rough game against the New York Rangers, will start his second career game in Montreal — the first came on April 5, 2011, a 2-1 overtime loss. This is Kostka’s first game since Jan. 2 vs. the New York Islanders.
[MORE: Marcus Kruger gets his shot on Blackhawks' second line]
Outside of their top-line combination (Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa), the Blackhawks have switched up their other combinations. Bryan Bickell will join Marcus Kruger and Patrick Kane on the second line, Brandon Saad plays left wing with Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg on the third and Andrew Shaw with center the fourth line with Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith. It’s juggling, something coach Joel Quenneville has never been afraid to do when the Blackhawks are looking for a spark.
“Over the course of a season you want to try different things,” he said. “We don’t like how things have gone over this stretch of games. You usually get energy off it as well and that’s one thing we’re looking for.”
[WATCH: SportsTalk Live: Blackhawks switch up line combinations]
The Blackhawks are also looking to get back to starting well. They haven’t scored a first-period goal since 2014 began. They’re 17-0-2 when they do have a first-period lead. The Blackhawks haven’t played in Montreal much these last few years but when they have, they haven’t been successful. Their last victory in Montreal was Dec. 3, 2001.
Carey Price is expected to start for the Canadiens.