Corey Crawford will start for Blackhawks vs. Avalanche

The Chicago netminder will make his first start since undergoing an appendectomy Dec. 3.

Corey Crawford will start when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday at United Center.

Forwards Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa both will not play against Colorado due to upper-body injuries. Anisimov was placed on injured reserve, retroactively to Sunday, and Tanner Kero, the Rockford IceHogs’ leading scorer was recalled. Coach Joel Quenneville is hopeful both players will return Tuesday against Winnipeg.

Crawford, who has been out since undergoing an appendectomy Dec. 3, began skating last week in Chicago while the team was on a three-game road trip. The 31-year-old netminder took shots in the team’s morning skate the last two days.

Scott Darling kept the Hawks at the top of the division during Crawford’s nine-game absence. Darling went 6-2-1 with a .938 save percentage. He allowed two goals or fewer in six of those games, including a 22-save shutout against Arizona on Dec. 6.

Crawford was 12-6-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts before his surgery. He ranks second in the league with a 95.46 save percentage in 5-on-5 play.