With a five-point lead over slumping Anaheim for first place in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks won’t rush star forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp back from injury.
Hossa (shoulder) and Sharp (shoulder) skated with the Blackhawks Thursday, but neither were taking contact and neither will play tomorrow versus the Ducks at the United Center.
“The conditioning is pretty good, but the strength needs to be better,” Hossa said, per CSNChicago.com. “Obviously, you want to make sure you’re 100 percent when you come back instead of coming back early and hurting it again. When I’m ready to play, I’ll play.”
‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville says the club will wait until Hossa and Sharp are “more than ready” before they get back into the lineup.
“It doesn’t hurt the position we’re in,” said Quenneville. “They’ll tell us when they’re ready and we’ll look at everything, including the schedule, and make sure when they do get in they’ll be ready to go.”
The Blackhawks beat Calgary, 2-0, on Tuesday, but are a modest 4-4-0 in their last eight games.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.