Chicago won three straight games for the first time this season with a 2-1 victory Friday at Colorado. Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov both scored a goal and goaltender Collin Delia made 35 saves in his season debut for the Blackhawks to improve to 4-1-1 in their last six games.
Cam Ward will start against Florida. He stopped 56 of 59 shots against Nashville and Dallas to start Chicago’s win streak.
Forward Jacob Nilsson will make his NHL debut after being recalled from the AHL on Saturday as center Luke Johnson was sent down. The 25-year-old Nilsson has four goals and two assists in his last eight games for the IceHogs. He has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 31 AHL games during his first season in North America. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton coached Nilsson for two seasons with Mora IK in Sweden.
Winger Chris Kunitz draws back into the lineup for the first time since Dec. 11, when he had one shot and skated 7:22 minutes across 11 shifts in Chicago’s 6-3 loss to Winnipeg. Kunitz has two assists and a 54.8 Corsi percentage in 22 games this season.
Sunday’s game will be the second and final meeting between the Blackhawks and Panthers. DeBrincat scored with 0.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and Erik Gustafsson tallied the game-winner 2:32 into overtime to lift Chicago to a 5-4 win Nov. 24 in Florida.
The Panthers will be playing Sunday’s game as the back end of a back-to-back. Florida defeated Detroit 2-1 on Saturday for its third victory in its past four games. Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov both scored in the first period for the Panthers.
Jonathan Huberdeau paces Florida in scoring with 42 points (nine goals, 33 assists), while Dadonov’s leads the way in goals at 17. Hoffman and Aleksander Barkov are second and third in goals at 16 and 15, respectively.
Backup goaltender James Reimer should be between the pipes after Roberto Luongo made 33 saves Saturday. Reimer is 5-7-3 with a 3.48 GAA and .888 save percentage this season.
Saad — Toews — Kahun
Strome — Anisimov — Kane
DeBrincat — Kampf — Sikura
Kunitz — Nilsson — Perlini
Keith — Gustafsson
Forsling — Seabrook
Dahlstrom — Murphy
Huberdeau — Barkov — Dadonov
Vatrano — Borgstrom — Hoffman
Malgin — McCann — Brouwer
Haley — Sceviour — Hawryluk
Yandle — Ekblad
Matheson — Weegar
Kiselevich — Pysyk
How to Watch
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: United Center, Chicago