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Blackhawks vs Islanders game preview: Jonathan Toews will play, Scott Darling in net

Chicago seeks ninth straight win as they face former teammate Nick Leddy for the first time since the trade.

Nick Leddy, right, will wear the orange and blue tonight when the Blackhawks take the ice at the Nassau Coliseum.
Nick Leddy, right, will wear the orange and blue tonight when the Blackhawks take the ice at the Nassau Coliseum.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks will try for a ninth consecutive win Saturday against the New York Islanders with captain Jonathan Toews returning from a tough hit Thursday night in Boston that caused him to miss the third period.

Toews suffered the injury in the second period of Chicago's 3-2 win over the Bruins after going head-first into the end boards following a check from Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. The 26-year-old star forward, who has a history of concussions, was held out of the third period for precautionary measures.

Seidenberg was sent to the penalty box for a minor boarding penalty, but will not be disciplined or fined by the NHL.

Boston native Ben Smith scored one of the Blackhawks' early goals and set up the other -- the first of Klas Dahlbeck's NHL career -- while Scott Darling outplayed Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask in the rookie's sixth career start. Darling made 32 saves in the win. Patrick Kane also scored and Marcus Kruger contributed two assists for Chicago.

The Blackhawks are on their longest winning streak since setting a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins from Feb. 15 to March, 2013. Chicago are trying for their seventh consecutive road victory, which would tie a franchise record set in Dec. 1964.

The Blackhawks and Islanders split two games last season, each team won 3-2 in its own building. Kyle Okposo's overtime goal snapped the Islanders four-game slide in the series on Jan. 2 at Nassau Coliseum. Chicago has lost four of its last five games on Long Island.

Former Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy will face his old team for the first time. Leddy was traded to the Islanders before the 2014-15 season began and has five goals and 14 points in 29 games for New York.

Darling wil make his fourth straight start in net and his first career appearance against the Islanders. The 25-year-old has posted 5-1-0 record with a .939 save percentage this season.

Opponent Breakdown: New York Islanders

New York has been one of the most surprising teams this season, having won 13 of 15 but have fallen on a three-game skid recently.

The Islanders enter Saturday's contest hoping to avoid its longest losing skid since Jan. 23-31 of last season, when they lost five straight. Their three losses all came in regulation and they have been outscored 17 to 11 during that span.

Two losses have come against the St. Louis Blues, including a 6-3 defeat in The Lou on Thursday. Alexander Steen scored two goals and one assist to help the Blackhawks' Central Division rival skate away with the victory.

John Tavares and Mikhail Grabovski scored in the second period. Former Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak allowed five goals on 32 shots. The Islanders begin a stretch of four of five home games, and boast a 10-3-0 record at the Coliseum. They had won seven straight before falling toe the Blues last Saturday.

Halak will start in net and he is 6-1-3 with a 2.07 GAA in 11 career games against the Blackhawks.

Injury Report

ChicagoCorey Crawford (foot) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (knee)

New York: Josh Bailey (lower-body), Casey Cizikas (upper-body), Travis Hamonic (upper-body), Johnny Boychuk (upper-body) and Matt Carkner (back)

Game Information

When: 6 p.m. CT

Where: Nassau Coliseum


Radio: WGN-720

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