Artem Anisimov ‘good to go’ for Game 1 of playoffs

Joel Quenneville says there are no doubts.

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov will play in Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series, coach Joel Quenneville confirmed after practice on Saturday. Anisimov will miss the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Kings, but Quenneville said he’s “good to go” for the first game of the postseason.

Anisimov suffered a lower-body injury in mid-March that was given a three-to-four week timetable for recovery. We’re past the three-week mark for him being out of the lineup, and with the playoffs likely to start next Thursday, that gives him ample time to get back into playing form.

The center has already started skating with his teammates during practice again, and should be ready to re-join Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin on the second line soon. That’s good news for the Blackhawks, who have been strained up the middle with Tanner Kero elevated from the bottom six over the past few games.

Anisimov only played 64 games this season, but he still tied a career-high with 22 goals and set a personal best with 45 points. In terms of per-game production, it was easily the best season of his career.

Now we got the good word that he’s ready to play in Game 1, and while we still don’t know who the Blackhawks will match up against, that’s a welcomed return. With the Bulls set to play a home game at the United Center next Wednesday when the NHL playoffs begin, the Blackhawks (who hold home ice advantage as the No. 1 seed in the West) will likely play Game 1 on Thursday.