Coming off a postseason when he was one of best players for the Stanley Cup champions, Corey Crawford will once again be a major key to the Blackhawks’ success this spring. While regular-season numbers don’t automatically translate to the postseason, Crawford did put up very competitive numbers against the Blues this year, going 2-1-1 with a 1.72 GAA and .935 SV%.
Kane missed the final 12 games of the regular season after suffering a sprained knee. Kane said he felt ‘’pretty good’’ after Monday’s workout. But he acknowledged ‘’we’ll know a little bit more’’ after practicing with the team Tuesday and Wednesday. Even then, until Game 1, the status of Kane’s recovery will be up in the air.
Toews (upper-body) said he will "absolutely" be ready for game 1 on Thursday.
The Blackhawks decided to sit Toews the rest of the regular season and make sure he was fit for the playoffs. ‘’I don’t feel like I lost anything,’’ Toews said. Toews generally is one of the last players to worry about making that adjustment. In 2012 he missed the final 22 games of the regular season with a concussion, then scored a goal 4:04 into the Hawks’ playoff opener against the Phoenix Coyotes. Toews was a plus-4 in the first two games of that series. If anything, it’ll be up to Toews’ teammates to follow his lead.
Raanta stopped all seven shots that he faced in relief of Corey Crawford last night. He will start tonight looking for his 14th win of the season. Raanta has won his only start vs. the Preds and has gone 6-4-2 on the road this season.
Crawford will start for the Blackhawks Friday, Antti Raanta figures to start Saturday.
Crawford made 28 saves on 30 shots in a 3-2 overtime win over Montreal on Wednesday. He has won each of his last three starts while holding the opposition to two goals in each game with a .925 SV%. Tonight in Washington is expected to be his final start of the regular season. He holds a 32-15-10 record with a 2.22 GAA and .918 SV% on the year.
The Blackhawks have sent Teuvo Teravainen down to Rockford (AHL).
Teravainen has only played in three games since arriving to Chicago. He has not recorded a point, only four shots and one hit. Sending him to the AHL will give him a chance to play a bunch on minutes and get more acclimated with the North American game. There's no doubting this kid's talent, but he won't improve by sitting in the press box every night. He is a top prospect, with a very bright future ahead of him.
Crawford stopped 21 of 23 shots in a 4-2 win over the Blues on Sunday. Crawford has been really consistent this season. He has posted a 2.00 GAA and .918 SV% in his last 10, which is right on par with his numbers on the season (2.22 / .918). Tonight, he faces a Canadiens team who are resting multiple players, but have won seven of their last eight.
Saad will return to the Blackhawks lineup on Wednesday.
Saad served as a healthy scratch in Sunday's win over the Blues. Head coach Joel Quenneville called the scratch a "coach's decision". Saad has just one assist in his last nine games, so the Hawks were likely giving him the night off to recharge so he is ready to go come playoff time.
Crawford stopped 25 of 27 shots in a win over the Wild on Thursday. He was given Friday night off, but will start again today. The Hawks are 2-0 without Toews and Kane, but it won't be easy with the Blues in town this afternoon. Crawford has gone 1-1-1 with 1.63 GAA and .941 SV% vs. St. Louis this season.
Raanta gave up five goals on 29 shots in a loss to the Senators last Friday. Raanta has lost his last five starts while allowing 3.40 goals per game and posting an .868 SV%. He will be in tough as he goes head-to-head with Sergei Bobrovsky who appears to be dialled in down the stretch.
Handzus has served as the Blackhawks second line centre this season, so tonight vs. the Wild they will be without their top-2 centremen. Handzus is listed as day-to-day. He is much more helpful to the Hawks than he is to your fantasy squad. He has just 15 points (4G / 11A) in 56 games this season.