Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are out and Corey Crawford will start when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators at the United Center tonight.
The Blackhawks’ two stars are nursing shoulder injuries sustained in separate games vs. Colorado last month. So with a few days off in the middle of this week, the Blackhawks will continue to give them extra time. Coach Joel Quenneville said there’s a possibility they could play Thursday when they host the St. Louis Blues.
For Sharp, it’s not as much precautionary as just not being quite 100 percent.
“It’s still not where it needs to be to play,” Sharp said this morning. If this was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs I’m sure I’d be out there. When it’s ready to go, I’m going to play. I’m not going to miss games just to be cautious.”
Hossa sounds like he’s just about there physically but being more on the cautious side.
“Obviously I want to be smart and wait a little longer. We have two or three days before the next game and every day is helpful,” he said. “It feels better. But a little bit more time is going to help.”
Thanks to lockout scheduling fun, the Blackhawks will play the Predators three times in the next weeks. The Blackhawks beat Nashville there on Feb. 10, with Crawford picking up his first shutout in more than a season that night. He was 33 seconds away from collecting his third of the season Sunday in Detroit.
[RELATED: Hawks battle Predators on CSN]
The Predators are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. But with the exception of February’s 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks, they always play Chicago very close. Quenneville expects the same tonight and wants the Blackhawks to bring Sunday’s cohesiveness and tenacity back home.
“Parts of the L.A. and Anaheim games were sporadic, but consistency’s made us successful all year and that’s what we’re looking for,” he said. “Our four lines had continuity yesterday, had momentum and had a purpose for how we had to play. When we do that, we’re in the right place. That’s what we want to establish, game in and game out. It’s going to be tight (tonight), and we have to be ready and willing to play that kind of game.”