Blackhawks-Senators: Kris Versteeg Not in Lineup, Nikolai Khabibulin Could Be

Craig NuzzoCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2008

The unexpected fight Sunday night between Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks) and Kyle Turris (Phoenix Coyotes) ended in an automatic one-game suspension for Versteeg.

That game will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 PM CT at the United Center in Chicago, IL.

The Chicago Blackhawks (12-6-7) will face-off against the Ottawa Senators (10-10-5).

The last time the 'Hawks played the Senators was last year on Dec. 22, the 'Hawks won 4-3.

The Senators have been struggling this season, but lately they have been victorious. Last Saturday, Dec. 6, the Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins (15-8-4) with a score of 3-2.

The 'Hawks have been hot as of late, going 2-0-1 in their last three contests with 15 goals.

Both teams could see goalies that have not played in a while. The 'Hawks sent backup goalie Corey Crawford back down to the Rockford IceHogs while the Senators could give Martin Gerber his first start in over a month.


Players to Watch

Nikolai Khabibulin: Since Corey Crawford has been sent back to Rockford, Khabi could earn the start over Cristobal Huet on Wednesday night. Khabi is 7-1-4, while Huet is 5-5-3.

Pascal Pelletier: While Adam Burish is placed on the Injured Reserves, and Kris Versteeg undergoes a one-day suspension. Pelletier should be in Wednesday night's lineup for the first time playing for the Blackhawks.

Prior to, Pelletier has only played six games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, and it wasn't his best, his only stat was a -2. On the other hand, he does lead the Rockford IceHogs with 13 goals. Hopefully, he can contribute Wednesday night.

Jonathan Toews: He recorded six points in three games, including a pair of game-winning goals. As a result he was named NHL's Second Star of the Week. He also schooled the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Dec. 6 with a sweet "deke" move to score a goal. Toews has been hot, and look for him to do something big again.


Keys of the Game

Neutral Zone Movement: The 'Hawks need to continue to move the puck within each zone, but also make sure the puck is not mishandled within the neutral zone. This will set up more breakaway opportunities.

Stop Dany Heatley: Heatley scored his 14th goal on Monday, Dec. 8.

The Patricks: Both Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have been hot as usual. Sharp leads the team in goals (16), and Kane leads the team in assists (20) and points (32). Just give them the puck.



5-3 'Hawks


Wednesday night I will attend my first 'Hawks game of the season at the "U.C." With money being tight, hopefully it will not be my last.

Let's Go Hawks!