Jonathan Toews returns to Blackhawks lineup tonight

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When Jonathan Toews went down with a shoulder injury last week, it seemed like it would be one of those things where Chicago might not every be able to get anyone healthy at the same time. Toews was supposed to miss two weeks of action but that will all change tonight as he’s ready to play and will go tonight against the Kings.

Toews, the Blackhawks captain, rejoins a lineup that finally has a healthy Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane and with goalie Corey Crawford playing outstanding of late, the Blackhawks are in better shape. The Blackhawks have lost three straight including the Blues game in which Toews was hurt. The offense has sputtered in two of those three losses and not having Toews can certainly be attributed to that.

Asking the offense to light it up tonight against the Kings with Chicago wrapping up a road trip might be asking a lot, but there’s a reason why Toews is the captain of this team. If there’s inspiration to be found, Toews will get it.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win. They’ve spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.