Blackhawks aim to end futility in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Toews is practicing but the 28-year-old captain did not make the trip to Philadelphia and will miss his fifth straight game on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Flyers at 1 p.m.
The Blackhawks placed Toews on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 24, to make room for forward Trevor van Riemsdyk, the younger brother of former Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk. Trevor van Riemsdyk has missed all but two games this season with an upper-body injury.
Toews can be taken off injured reserve any time and the Blackhawks (16-6-3) hope their captain will return during their four-game homestand, which begins Sunday against his native Winnipeg.
"It's never fun to miss any time, especially when the team is playing as many games as they are," Toews told CSNChicago on Friday. "It's so nice to get back out there and move around and get going a little bit."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he's willing to give Toews all the time he needs.
"You gotta be fully recovered and we want to make sure guys are 100 percent before they can play," Quenneville said. "Jonny plays at a certain pace and it's all out, so let's make sure he's more than ready when he's coming back."
The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 in their last four while the Flyers (12-10-3) have won three games in a row. Both teams are coming off overtime wins on Thursday night, the Blackhawks getting a game-winner from Marian Hossa against the New Jersey Devils, and the Flyers getting an overtime winner from Claude Giroux in a two-goal performance by Philadelphia's 28-year-old captain.
Excluding the 2010 playoffs, when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in Philadelphia in Game 6 on a phantom goal by Patrick Kane that slipped under Michael Leighton, the Flyers have lost at home just once to Chicago since the Wells Fargo Center opened in 1996. The Flyers have won 12 straight regular-season games against the Blackhawks at home.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford (12-6-2) is expected to make his 21st start of the season while Steve Mason (7-8-3) is expected to get his 17th start for Philadelphia.
Mason has won back-to-back games for the first time since late last season, allowing two goals in each of those wins, and is above .500 for the first time this season.
"I think we're still striving for consistency," Mason told Philly.com. "The last home game (a 3-2 shootout win over Boston) wasn't a great home game. We found ourselves lucky to get the two points there. (Thursday) we came back with an effort that wins you hockey games."
Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov returned to the lineup Thursday night after leaving Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers with a heel injury, while Blackhawks forward Jordin Tootoo and defenseman Gustav Forsling were healthy scratches.
The Flyers have cleared defenseman Brandon Manning, who missed the past two games with a concussion. Flyers center Scott Laughton has been scratched three games in a row, while defenseman Nick Schultz has been scratched 10 straight.