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Jonathan Toews out with injury as Blackhawks face Canucks

It’s a game between two teams with no playoff aspirations left.

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In their first game since being officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks will host a team with similar postseason plans when the Vancouver Canucks travel to the United Center for a Thursday night game.

Injuries are all over the Canucks roster, part of the reason why Vancouver currently occupies the basement in the Western Conference. Rookie sensation Brock Boeser injured his back two weeks ago and likely won’t be back this season. Boeser’s 29 goals and 55 points still lead the team, which says a lot about how difficult it’s been for the Canucks to score this season. Elsewhere, Sven Baertschi (14 goals, 15 assists), Loui Eriksson (10 goals, 13 assists), Brendan Gaunce, Markus Graslund, Erik Gudbranson and Ben Hutton all remain out with various ailments. The Sedin brothers remain on the team, playing out the final seasons of their contracts with a combined minus-41 rating. But Sam Gagner is also here, so there’s potential for someone from Vancouver to put together an eight-point game for reasons that will never meet logic.

Switching sides, the big news from the morning skate was the upper-body injury sustained by Jonathan Toews during Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, putting the captain out of the lineup for “a few games,” according to coach Joel Quenneville. That injury forced a lineup shuffle: Nick Schmaltz is now the No. 1 center with Patricks Sharp and Kane on his wings, giving Schmaltz a good test to see how he can handle the No. 1 center workload. Artem Anisimov’s line is now the second one with Tomas Jurco and Alex DeBrincat as wingers, Vinnie Hinostroza centers a third line with Brandon Saad and Matthew Highmore, while the fourth line features David Kampf between John Hayden and Andreas Martinsen.

The defensive pairings appear to remain the same and Jean-Francois Berube gets the nod in net. The eight-game march to the longest offseason in a decade begins tonight.

Lineups

Blackhawks

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Patrick Sharp - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane
F2 Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Alex DeBrincat
F3 Brandon Saad - Vinnie Hinostroza - Matthew Highmore
F4 John Hayden - David Kampf - Andreas Martinsen
D1 Duncan Keith - Jan Rutta
D2 Erik Gustafsson - Brent Seabrook
D3 Jordan Oesterle - Connor Murphy
Goaltender Jean-Francois Berube

Canucks

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Brendan Leipsic - Bo Horvat - Nikolay Goldobin
F2 Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Reid Boucher
F3 Darren Archibald - Brandon Sutter - Sam Gagner
F4 Jussi Jokinen - Nic Dowd - Jake Virtanen
D1 Alexander Edler - Chris Tanev
D2 Michael Del Zotto - Troy Stecher
D3 Derrick Pouliot - Alex Biega
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom

*Lines are subject to change.

How to watch Canucks at Blackhawks

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT

Location: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago