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Blackhawks start California trip against Ducks

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Chicago has lost back-to-back games and is six points out of the playoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Blackhawks will have an extra pep in their step Wednesday when they open a three-game California trip with goaltender Corey Crawford back in net.

Chicago activated the veteran netminder from injured reserve Monday and he’ll play during the trip, which begins Wednesday against the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Crawford has been out since Dec. 16 when he suffered his second concussion in less than a year. Prior to his most recent concussion, he was 6-14-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 23 games this season.

The Blackhawks have miraculously found themselves in a playoff race of sorts during his absence. They dropped seven of eight in January then won seven straight and evened pulled within just one point of a playoff spot at one point. But now after back-to-back losses, they’re looking up and are six points out of the final wild-card spot and in last place in the Central Division.

Patrick Kane had his point streak end at 20 games in Chicago’s 4-3 loss to Dallas on Sunday. He paces the team with 39 goals and 93 points in 62 games this season. Jonathan Toews, however, extended his point streak to six games with a goal against the Stars.

Defenseman Carl Dahlstrom will return to the lineup after missing two games with an illness. Forward Brendan Perlini and defenseman Gustav Forsling will scratched.

The Ducks are battling their own injurys in net with the trio of John Gibson, Chad Johnson and Ryan Miller all day-to-day. Center Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the team in scoring with 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) is also day-to-day.

While Chicago was quiet this past week ahead of the trade deadline, Anaheim made several moves by dealing defensemen Brandon Montour and Michael del Zotto to the Sabres and Blues, respectively. The Ducks have also dealt Brian Gibbons, Luke Schenn, Andrew Cogliano and Pontus Aberg this season.

Winger Jakob Silfverberg will play in his first home game since signing a five-year contract extension with the Ducks. He leads Anaheim in goals with 16 and his fifth in points at 24.

The Ducks dropped all three games on their Western Canada road trip, including a 4-0 loss Monday in Vancouver.

The Blackhawks and Ducks have split the season series with both home teams winning. Chicago won 3-1 on Oct. 23 then fell 4-2 on Dec. 5.

Lineups

Blackhawks

Caggiula — ToewsKane

DeBrincat — Strome — Kahun

Saad — Anisimov — Sikura

Kunitz — Kruger — Hayden

Keith — Seabrook

Koekkoek — Gustafsson

Dahlstrom — Murphy

Crawford

Ward

Ducks

Rakell — Grant — Perry

Jones — Henrique — Terry

Shore — Steel — Silfverberg

Ritchie — Kesler — Rowney

Lindholm — Manson

Fowler — Guhle

Megna — Holzer

Miller

Boyle

How to watch

When: 9 p.m., Central

Where: Honda Center, Anaheim

TV: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports Chicago+