Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook will return to the ice tonight vs Rangers
NEW YORK – Optimistic fans of the Blackhawks might look at two of their last three games as a potential preview of June.
On Friday and Tuesday night, the team faces the New York Rangers for the only two times during the regular season. Both teams enter the contest among the Top 5 in the entire NHL, leading some to believe this could be a Stanley Cup Final match-up in about six months.
The first New York vs Chicago battle went to the Rangers in Chicago on Friday as they pulled out a 1-0 win at the United Center. But in the rematch at Madison Square Garden, Joel Quenneville will have two extra weapons at his disposal.
At the team’s Tuesday morning pregame skate, the coach announced that captain Jonathan Toews along with defenseman Brent Seabrook will return to the lineup against the Rangers.
Toews has missed the last nine games after suffering a back injury against the Sharks on November 23rd in San Jose. Meanwhile, Seabrook has been out of the lineup with a head injury the last two games after getting hurt against the Coyotes on December 6th.
“It’s nice to feel like there is nothing on my mind. I can go out there and play my game,” said Toews of returning to the lineup with his injury healed. “Obviously when you miss three weeks, it’s obviously going to be a little bit of an adjustment to try and catch up with the speed and it’s a good feeling to get back in the lineup.”
Quenneville said that Toews won’t play his usual 20 or so minutes tonight but he will be on the top line with Ryan Hartman and Marian Hossa when they faceoff tonight against the Rangers.
“Obviously it adds a lot of opportunities on the back end and up front end with Johnny and you get some leadership,” said Quenneville of having Seabrook and Toews back. “The lines look like we have some real good balance and hopefully we’ve got a good four-line rotation.”
One that looks like normal, and one that could help the Blackhawks face the Rangers again down the road.