Blackhawks vs Ducks: Who's really best in the West?

Blackhawks vs Ducks: Who's really best in the West?
March 20, 2013, 2:45 pm
Share This Post

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Marian Hossa is out, Daniel Carcillo is in and Corey Crawford will start tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.

Hossa is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he sustained when Colorado defenseman Ryan O’Byrne hit him along the boards near the end of the first period on Monday night. Coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa’s injury is not serious.

Carcillo, who has been a healthy scratch the past three games, will play tonight, although it’s uncertain on which line.

Carcillo has played on the top lines some, but all at his usual left-wing position. Quenneville said they’ll look at their options there; Patrick Kane, who double-shifted in Hossa’s absence the other night, could be one of them.

Tonight's game is a matchup of the best in the West: the Blackhawks, whose stunning 24-game streak put them atop the conference early, and the Ducks whose own recent hot streak has them right on the Hawks’ tails. Both teams anticipate this one being good.

[Related: Tale of the tape: Hawks-Ducks]

“It’s still only two points available, but it’s going to be a good test of where we are right now,” Teemu Selanne said. “It’s going to be exciting. Obviously, the way they’ve played and the run they’ve had, it was awesome to watch. On the (other) hand, you want to beat the best.”

Jonas Hiller will start for the Ducks, who will be without Corey Perry tonight. Perry is serving the final game of his four-game suspension for his hit on Minnesota’s Jason Zucker on March 12.

The Ducks have sizzled lately--especially at home, where they have won a franchise-best 12 in a row. As much as the Ducks look at this game as a benchmark, so do the Blackhawks.

“We’ve been playing pretty well all year....It is a measuring stick to see how close these two teams are together,” Kane said. “They’d probably have more attention if not for the season we’ve had. We want to prove ourselves and show we’re the best team in the West.”

Patrick Sharp is still skating back in Chicago, Quenneville said. The timetable for his return remains the same.