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Carolina Hurricanes at Chicago Blackhawks: Thursday Lineups and Game Discussion

The Hurricanes will look to build a little momentum in Chicago Thursday night, the final game before Carolina embarks on an eight-game homestand.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Chicago Blackhawks Eileen T. Meslar-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes will finish off a two-game road set in Chicago Thursday night, looking to pick up two points from the short trip after a 2-1 regulation loss Tuesday night.

It’ll be the Canes last game before a season-long eight-game win streak that will feature the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes couldn’t get it done Tuesday in what Rod Brind’Amour dubbed an “ugly” and “gross” game, as Dougie Hamilton’s NHL-leading point streak came to end along with Carolina’s five-game point streak.

In goalie news, the Canes won’t have Petr Mrazek still, but his return is coming at some point as he has been assigned for rehab with the Chicago Wolves. Brind’Amour spoke about that Thursday morning.

“I haven’t planned it at all,” Brind’Amour said. “We just want to take it day by day here. Obviously with him being out as long as he had, it’d be tough to just say ‘Hey, let’s throw you into an NHL game not knowing how you feel.’ Because there’s still obviously a little question mark in his mind. So this hopefully alleviates all that. No pressure on the result type thing. It’s get in there, feel comfortable and we’ll see what he says after the game, where he feels he’s at. But we’ll make decisions after that.”

Mrazek’s absence has made way for the emergence of Alex Nedeljkovic, who was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for March Thursday. He posted a 6-1-1 record, 1.85 GAA and a shutout in March.

Now the Hurricanes will look to gather some momentum as they head into a decisive homestretch. The Canes haven’t announced a starting goalie, but here is how Brind’Amour’s team will lineup Thursday in the United Center if James Reimer is in net assuming the rotation:

Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Vincent Trocheck - Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Steven Lorentz - Jordan Martinook

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Jake Bean

James Reimer
Alex Nedeljkovic

Injuries and Scratches: Petr Mrazek (right thumb), Teuvo Teravainen (concussion symptoms, IR)

Taxi Squad: Jake Gardiner, Morgan Geekie, Joey Keane, Beck Warm

For Chicago, Tuesday’s win featured another great performance in net from Calder Trophy-contender Kevin Lankinen, who stopped 31 of 31 shots faced. Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat both got on the scoresheet, as Chicago ended a two-game skid.

DeBrincat has goals in his last two, while Patrick Kane extended his point streak to five games with the primary assist on DeBrincat’s game-winning goal.

With Lankinen in net again, here’s how Chicago will hit the ice at home Thursday night:

Alex DeBrincat - Pius Suter - Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik - David Kampf - Brandon Hagel
Mattias Janmark - Kirby Dach - Dylan Strome
Ryan Carpenter - Carl Soderberg - Philipp Kurashev

Nikitia Zadorov - Connor Murphy
Duncan Keith - Adam Boqvist
Calvin de Haan - Wyatt Kalynuk

Kevin Lankinen
Malcolm Subban

Injuries and Scratches: Nicolas Beaudin (healthy), Ian Mitchell (healthy), Matthew Highmore (healthy), Jonathan Toews (undisclosed, LTIR), Andrew Shaw (concussion, LTIR), Zack Smith (back, LTIR), Alexander Nylander (LTIR)

Taxi Squad: Reese Johnson, MacKenzie Entwistle, Lucas Carlsson, Mike Hardman