By Drew Davison
DALLAS — There’s nothing the Chicago Blackhawks can do about the schedule, which has them playing 18 sets of back-to-back games. That’s tied for the third-most in the NHL, and the Blackhawks find themselves in the midst of their fourth back-to-back set tonight against the Stars followed by Sunday against Edmonton at home.
But there are no complaints coming from the Chicago locker room. The Hawks, after all, have fared well in consecutive games this season. They swept their first two back-to-backs on Oct. 11-12 and Oct. 28-29, and split the Nov. 2-3 set.
“I don’t know whether if it’s we’re a young team, we roll four lines or we have a lot of depth,” right wing Patrick Kane said. “Whatever it may be, we never seem to struggle in those situations so hopefully it can stay that way.”
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Coach Joel Quenneville each had Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin start a game in goal the first two back-to-backs and then went with Crawford for both games last week against Winnipeg and Calgary.
Crawford is expected to start tonight, but Quenneville hasn’t decided a goalie for Sunday yet.
As far as his team’s success in the back-to-backs, Quenneville said: “One thing with us, we’re playing to win today’s game. We’re not even worrying about the second game and we try to use four lines most nights deep in games. If we have to go lighten it up and go to three lines, go to our top guys a little bit more, we will. Hopefully you can spread the ice time across the board and play tomorrow’s game tomorrow, but we’re only concentrating on today.”
Brookbank stays at forward
Defender Sheldon Brookbank will be at forward a second consecutive game with Jeremy Morin out as a healthy scratch. Brookbank has played forward sparingly in his career, and said there are times it feels “a little foreign.”
“You have to think a little bit, but you get a good perspective on the game,” Brookbank said. “Any time you can get in the lineup, it’s always a good thing.”
Quenneville thought Brookbank handled the role well enough Wednesday, but said it isn’t going to be “a long-term thing.”
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Kane praises Seguin
Kane played with Stars’ center Tyler Seguin in Switzerland during the lockout about this time a year ago, and isn’t surprised to see Seguin’s early success with the Stars.
Seguin has emerged as one of the best players for Dallas, as he’s tied for the team lead with 15 points in 16 games.
"He’s a great player,” Kane said. “He’s got every tool in the book as far as skill-wise and I thought he was the best player I ever played with over in Switzerland. Tremendous feet, great shot, can play the game very well offensively.”