A few small updates ahead of the game Monday night between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators.
The Blackhawks lineup is expected to be the same as the Nashville Predators game on Saturday with one change: Alex Stalock is the starting goaltender — his first game since Feb. 28.
Blackhawks morning skate. Host Senators at 8:00 tonight.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 6, 2023
Stalock in starter’s crease. pic.twitter.com/Yit2Wcq9fk
For reference, the lines and pairings against the Predators were the following:
Blackhawks lines:— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 5, 2023
C. Jones-S. Jones
Ben Pope from the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a bit about the chemistry on and off the ice between Lukas Reichel and Philipp Kurashev:
Lukas Reichel and Philipp Kurashev, currently playing on the 1st line together, have bonded this year as the only German-speaking Blackhawks.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 6, 2023
"We have good chemistry and you see it on the ice, too."
Post-practice, Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson mentioned Jonathan Toews’ return to hanging out with the team, though the captain is not back to practicing yet.
Luke Richardson on Jonathan Toews: "I thought the timeline was going to be a bit earlier to get on the ice, but the way he was feeling, we wanted to continue in the gym and hopefully we get to that next step soon."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) March 6, 2023
“He said he was glad to back and he’s with the guys and feeling a little better. … when he’s getting close to being on the ice, I’ll have a little more of a talk with him then.”— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) March 6, 2023
—Luke Richardson on the latest on Jonathan Toews’ health#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/E6CAqlELfD
As for the Senators, their lineup is the same one that faced the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Not surprising considering this lineup is on a five-game win streak and 7-2-1 in the last 10 games.
Sens lines from the morning skate in Chicago.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) March 6, 2023
Tkachuk Stützle Giroux
DeBrincat Pinto Batherson
Joseph Gambrell Gauthier
Brassard Kastelic Watson
Kelly Brown XXXX
Cam Talbot will be the starter for the Sens: he was the winning netminder in three of the five last wins with a .909 save-percentage and a 2.33 goals against average.
Talbot in the starters end for morning skate in Chicago.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) March 6, 2023
The top news for this game is obviously former Blackhawks
sweetheart star Alex DeBrincat returning to the United Center since his trade from the Blackhawks last summer — though it’s not quite as big a story as it would have been before the NHL Trade Deadline, when so many of DeBrincat’s former teammates were traded.
What Alex DeBrincat is probably thinking as he watches #Blackhawks morning skate: pic.twitter.com/1n4FrvJ3MY— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) March 6, 2023
DeBrincat spoke a bit about his Chicago return after practice, including how strange it is to see the Blackhawks lineup without Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews.
Yeah, it’s strange to us too, buddy.
DeBrincat on his Chicago return coming so late in the season:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 6, 2023
"It makes it a little easier for me, being settled in [with Ottawa], creating new memories here, new friendships, and it's not so fresh over there. So I think it's good to come a little later in the season."
DeBrincat: "Obviously being back here and not having Kane or Toews in the lineup is definitely different. You grow up watching those guys and then playing with them, they're definitely the heartbeat of that team and face of the franchise, so it's tough to see them not playing."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) March 6, 2023
DeBrincat also spoke about how the Senators are focused on getting into the playoffs, something that didn’t seem doable not that long ago. The Senators are currently just three points out of the last wild card spot in the East.
“Little bit of both, honestly. It’s fun to be back but we’re still in important games and we need to get a win.”— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) March 6, 2023
—Alex DeBrincat when asked whether his last time in the United Center feels like yesterday or forever (while his Senators teammates yell “Welcome back!”) pic.twitter.com/YelQH29Iw8
This late-season push has been seen by many as the Senators organization taking the next step in their rebuild, a process that Blackhawks fans should pay attention to since the Chicago rebuild is in now full swing.
“We want playoffs.”— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) March 6, 2023
Those three words came out of the mouths of Sens fans in an emotionally charged game on Saturday.
And in the span of seven days, this franchise put their rebuild into warp speed.
Inside a magical — and important — night at the CTC.