Also out for the Blackhawks are three different forwards, including Artem Anisimov, who was knocked out of Tuesday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes after being slammed into the boards by Antoine Vermette. Joel Quenneville is optimistic that Anisimov will be ready for the postseason, but he’s not taking any chances with a critical piece of the team’s vaunted second line.
The player who normally would replace Hossa on the top line is also out however, as Andrew Shaw will miss another game. His prognosis is less rosy for the playoffs, as the team hasn’t made a ruling on when or if he’ll be back in the near future.
Finally, Duncan Keith will miss his fourth game due to the suspension that he received after slashing Charlie Coyle in the face in a game against the Minnesota Wild last month.
As for how the Blackhawks will lineup, Quenneville has been forced to get creative with his roster. Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd will be joined by Richard Panik, who scored a goal in Tuesday’s win over Arizona. Teuvo Teravainen will also move back up in the rotation after the Anisimov injury, centering Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.
The bottom two lines are where things get really interesting. Andrew Desjardins will serve as the third line center in Thursday’s game, with Bryan Bickell and Dale Weise as his wingers, and Marcus Kruger will take care of fourth line duties with Tomas Fleischmann and Brandon Mashinter.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, they aren’t the only ones who will be shorthanded on Thursday night. The Blues will be missing captain David Backes, and they’ll also be without Steve Ott in the game. Jay Bouwmeester is questionable as well, according to the team.
Last year, more than 200,000 people visited the new draft experience for pro-football fans, which included a free-family venue known as “Draft Town.” The attraction allowed fans to test their football skills – from kicking a field goal to running a 40-yard dash against a virtual NFL player.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, the Predators also won on Saturday, leaving the Blackhawks with a slim two-point lead with seven regular season games left to play.