Blackhawks' Corey Crawford gets the nod vs. Sharks


Corey Crawford will get the start again and Ben Smith will return on the other side of the ice when the Blackhawks host the San Jose Sharks tonight at the United Center.

The Blackhawks are riding the hot hand with Crawford, who has won six of his last seven starts entering today’s game. He stopped 26 of 28 in regulation and overtime in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Saturday afternoon. Coach Joel Quenneville said it’s more about what Crawford’s doing right now than anything.

“Absolutely,” he said. “He’s been red hot.”

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Brandon Mashinter will likely return tonight against the Sharks, his former team. Who comes out is unknown; Quenneville wouldn’t divulge.

For Smith, it’s been a long wait to get back for the Sharks. Smith was hit in the head by a shot from teammate Marc-Eduard Vlasic on Oct. 17. He played in two games in late October but struggled with concussion symptoms since; this will be his first game since Oct. 31 against the Dallas Stars.

“We got him in a couple of games in the American League last week, wanted to see how he reacted to that, and get him back for a solid week of practice with our guys,” San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said this afternoon. “Playing his first game in Chicago is probably appropriate.”

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