As per the Blackhawks Twitter account, team captain Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup tonight for Game 1 of Chicago’s opening-round playoff series with Phoenix.
It’s huge news for the Blackhawks and sure to be a massive momentum swing for the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed. Toews had missed the final 22 games of the regular season with a concussion but had been practicing with the team for weeks and, most recently, skated on a new-look top line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.
“The upside of that line is going to be high end,” head coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “We should have puck possession and a lot of ability.”
Kane seemed equally excited about the line’s potential.
“This is a combination we’ve never really tried before, maybe a couple times throughout seasons and games we were behind or when Hossa first came back a couple years ago,” he said. “It’ll be different but we just have to work hard, get the puck in their end and work some magic down there.
“It’s going to be fun to play with those guys.”
Prior to getting hurt, Toews was in the midst of an impressive campaign. He had 29G-28A-57PTS through 59 games and was seen by many as a legit Hart Trophy candidate.
Toews was also a point-a-game player against the Coyotes this season, recording 3G-1A-4PTS in four regular season contests. For more on how his return will impact this series, here are NHL on NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones discussing the “Captain Serious” factor:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!