By Rick Gethin
Simplifying their game is the plan for the banged-up Blackhawks going into tonight’s tilt versus the Blue Jackets. It worked Thursday night against Minnesota, the Blackhawks skating away with a 3-2 shootout victory and two points. For both Chicago and Columbus, tonight is the second of back-to-back games. The Blackhawks have an 11-2-3 record in the second game of back-to-backs.
“(Columbus) is a very dangerous opponent”, said head coach Joel Quenneville. “They play hard, and they play simple. Comparable to last night’s setting, with Minnesota fighting for their lives for a playoff spot, these guys (Columbus) are in the same spot and they’ve got more people after them.
“Playing the right way and keeping it simple is what we’re trying to talk about doing. That’s our mindset. It’s going to be a hard game, so we’ve got to be ready to play hard.”
Raanta in net
Quenneville addressed the changes to last night’s lineup for the matchup with Columbus, including who starts in net. “Antti (Raanta) is playing and Teuvo (Teravainen) is not playing, same forwards as last night”, he said. Michal Rozsival is back in the lineup after missing the last nine games.
Chicago is without Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the remainder of the season. Also, Johnny Oduya and Michal Handzus did not make the trip to Columbus (day-to-day) but could play Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. Quenneville said of Handzus, “we’re resting him”.
Asked if Kane had been on the ice, Quenneville said, “Yes, he skated today. (It was) very positive.” Toews is “doing everything he can right now. He’s getting himself ready”, said Quenneville when asked if the Blackhawks captain is working out in preparation of his return.