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Blackhawks host Capitals in preseason home finale

Both teams will skate NHL lineups.

Washington Capitals v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks host the Capitals for their final preseason game in North America on Wednesday at the United Center.

Chicago has two preseason games left on its schedule, but the NHL team will leave Thursday for Europe to compete in the NHL Global Series. The Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, will play Saturday in Boston, while the NHL team faces Eisbären Berlin on Sunday in Germany.

Tom Wilson’s overtime goal lifted the Capitals to a 4-3 win over Chicago on Sept. 16 in Washington. Chicago is 2-1-1 in the preseason, winning home games over Detroit and Boston.

Chicago’s lineup sees some changes with Adam Boqvist in for Connor Murphy, David Kampf back in for Zack Smith (lower-back injury) and Slater Koekkoek over Carl Dahlstrom. Drake Caggiula also slides up to the top line with Alex Nylander and Jonathan Toews, while Andrew Shaw drops down to the fourth line with Anton Wedin and center Ryan Carpenter. Both Dahlstrom and Koekkoek would have to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL. Brendan Perlini remains a healthy scratch.

Corey Crawford will start in net for Chicago, who will have Collin Delia as his backup with Robin Lehner (right hip) out. All three goaltenders are expected to make the Blackhawks’ trip to Europe on Thursday.

Braden Holtby will make his preseason debut and is slated to split the net with Pheonix Copley. Lars Eller will play after a brief absence from on-ice activity due to an upper-body injury. With Evgeny Kuznetsov out for the season’s first three games because of a league suspension, Eller is expected to slot in on the second line between Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie.

Former Blackhawk Michal Kempny is still rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn left hamstring and won’t play. Another ex-Chicago forward in Richard Panik, however, will play.

What to watch for

  • Chicago’s defense

The Blackhawks defense has struggled to limit chances against heavy-AHL caliber lineups in the preseason. Will they do any better against legitimate NHL competition?

  • Second-line defense

The trio of Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane can certainly create offense, but they struggle on defense. This line can provide a jolt of offense when needed and if they show improvements defensively they may stick together.

  • Adam Boqvist

Chicago’s top defenseman prospect has impressed so far, including one game with Duncan Keith as his partner, but he’s paired with Slater Koekkoek against Washington. Koekkoek isn’t Keith, obviously, so if Boqvist can hold his own with the former as his partner Boqvist might be able to secure a spot to Europe.

Lineups

Blackhawks

Nylander — Toews — Caggiula

DeBrincat — StromeKane

Saad — Kampf — Kubalik

Wedin — Carpenter — Shaw

Keith — Gustafsson

Maatta — Seabrook

Koekkoek — Boqvist

Crawford

Delia

Capitals

Ovechkin — Backstrom — Wilson

Vrana — Eller — Oshie

Leipsic — Dowd — Hathaway

O’Brien — Stephenson — Panik

Siegenthaler — Carlson

Fehervary — Lewington

Johansen — Williams

Holtby

Copley

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago-Plus, NHL Network