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Great Lakes / Great Escapes: Blackhawks-Red Wings preseason preview

The captain is in the lineup for Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings”n

Our first glimpse at the 2021-22 Chicago Blackhawks arrives on Wednesday night at the United Center with the Detroit Red Wings in town for the preseason opener for both teams.

The biggest news ahead of Wednesday’s game is that captain Jonathan Toews is expected to be in the lineup. He hasn’t appeared in a Blackhawks game since Aug. 18, 2020 when Chicago was eliminated from the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Toews had a goal that night in a 4-3 loss.

Based on the morning skate, Toews will skate between Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev on Chicago’s top line. Elsewhere in the lineup, Kirby Dach returns from an up-and-down 2021 season to slot in at 2C with Brett Connolly and Brandon Hagel on his wings. The third line will feature a trio of players on the NHL/AHL bubble: Alex Nylander, Henrik Borgstrom and 2020 first-round pick Lukas Reichel, who’ll be playing in his first NHL action of any kind after an impressive 2020-21 campaign overseas.

Some noticeable absences in the Chicago lineup include goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Seth Jones and forwards Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane. But their absences gives some young players a chance to shine, including defenseman Isaak Phillips, a 2020 fifth-round pick (141st overall) who had an impressive stint with the IceHogs in the AHL last season.

Here’s the entire Blackhawks roster for Wednesday’s game:

Should the Blackhawks get time on the man advantage, here’s what the power-play personnel could be, again based on the morning skate:

Let’s go Hawks!

Blackhawks lineup

Kubalik — Toews — Kurashev

Connolly — K. Dach — Hagel

Reichel — Borgstrom — Nylander

Khaira — Entwistle — Gaudette

Stillman — Murphy

C. Jones — Kalynuk

Phillips — Beaudin

Lankinen/Soderblom

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago-Plus, NHL Network