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Familiar faces everywhere as Blackhawks welcome Hurricanes to United Center

A slew of former Hawks head to Chicago.

Carolina Hurricanes v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Southeast Thursday night at the United Center as the Hawks welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to 1901 W. Madison St.

Along with leading scorer Teuvo Teravainen, who’s already been discussed at this website, Carolina also boasts former Hawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, Klas Dahlbeck, forward Joakim Nordstrom and goaltender Scott Darling. And don’t forget about Marcus Kruger, who’s down in the minors.

Carolina remains in striking distance of a wild card berth in the Eastern Conference, just four points behind Columbus’ 73 points with 67 games played for each team. But sitting between Columbus and Carolina is a Florida Panthers team that has 71 points and three games in hand, so Carolina will need two points from Thursday night to keep pace with the Panthers. On the ice, Teravainen and Sebastian Aho have been the most formidable scorers, playing much of the season on opposite wings of the same line. The Hurricanes have nine players with double-digit goal amounts, but lack the true top goal-scoring threat that many other NHL teams boast. On defense is a rather deep and young corps of blue-liners, featuring Justin Faulk (25 years old), Jaccob Slavin (23), Noah Hanifin (21) Haydn Fleury (21 and son of former Hawk Theo).

But it’s all gone wrong in net for Carolina, which has team numbers of 2.89 goals-against average and a dismal .898 save percentage that isn’t going to win much of anything in the NHL. Darling was brought over in the offseason and expected to be the No. 1 guy, but that just hasn’t happened (3.09 GAA, .889 SA%). Darling’s long road back to the NHL and his childhood favorite franchise after overcoming his own personal demons remains one of the best hockey stories in recent memory. But he hasn’t been able to recapture any of that magic in Carolina. He’s expected to be the starter tonight, with Nordstrom returning from an injury to maintain the ex-Blackhawks quota in the Carolina lineup.

For the current Blackhawks, a 2-1 overtime home win Tuesday over Colorado means minimal lineup changes for Thursday, but defenseman Jan Rutta (with a freshly-extended contract) is expected to get back onto the ice with the assumption here that Jordan Oesterle gets the overhead view from the press box in his place. Jean-Francois Berube is in net, giving him another chance to add justification for his consideration as the Blackhawks backup goalie for the 2018-19 season. Elsewhere, several other players whose roster spots for next season are not determined would benefit from better performances on Thursday and throughout the next month. Anthony Duclair is a recent acquisition who’s gone quiet of late, while other young players like David Kampf and Matthew Highmore can also shine brighter on the organizational radar with impact plays on Thursday. Those are the thing worth keeping an eye on this evening.

Lineups

Blackhawks

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

Blues

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
F2 Patrik Berglund - Kyle Brodziak - Alex Steen
F3 Dmitrij Jaskin - Vladimir Sobotka - Tage Thompson
F4 Nikita Soshnikov - Ivan Barbashev - Chris Thorburn
D1 Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo
D2 Vince Dunn - Colton Parayko
D3 Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo
Goaltender Jake Allen OR Ville Husso

*Lines are subject to change.

How to watch Hurricanes at Blackhawks

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT

Location: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago