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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 21st (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (30-30-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (40-15-15), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks may have lost Patrick Kane for the rest of the regular season, but it will give the club a chance to get a look at some of its bright prospects down the stretch.

The Blackhawks will try to tighten their grip on second place in the Central Division on Friday night when they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Chicago had lost three of its previous four before beginning a four-game homestand with Wednesday's 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. That win put the Blackhawks a point ahead of third-place Colorado in the division and six back of the front-running Blues.

The Blues are idle on Friday, while the Avalanche are hosting the Boston Bruins.

Corey Crawford made 23 saves in his second shutout of the season, while Duncan Keith, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Ben Smith all lit the lamp.

"Tonight we knew it was going to be a tough matchup," Crawford said. "It seems like it's always physical against these guys. The first 10 minutes, everyone was just running around trying to hit somebody to trying to avoid a hit. It felt like a playoff game, a playoff-type atmosphere. Our crowd was into it and we played really solidly."

Kane had an assist before leaving in the second period with a leg injury. He is expected to miss three weeks of action and the club placed the forward on injured reserve Friday.

"Certainly he's a special player and we'll have to work our way through it, knowing what he brings to our team," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville of the misfortune that punctuated his 700th career victory. "It's definitely a huge loss for us, but we've been fortunate as far as not getting hit too hard. You're going to get tested at some point."

Kane has 29 goals and 40 assists through 69 games this season and his movement to IR opened up enough cap space for the Blackhawks to add both Jeremy Morin and Teuvo Teravainen to the roster.

Teravainen is considered one of Chicago's top prospects and the 19-year-old just finished up his regular season with Jokerit of SM-liiga. The 18th overall pick of the 2012 draft led Jokerit with 44 points off nine goals and 35 assists in 49 games.

Morin, 22, is second on the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League with 47 points, having posted 24 goals and 23 assists in 47 games.

Carolina is nine points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and snapped a two-game slide with Tuesday's 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Anton Khudobin shined with 46 saves and kept Carolina in the game despite the club getting outshot 19-0 in the third period. He also fell just shy of his third career shutout when he was beaten on a deflection goal with 50 seconds to play.

"I'm happy with the win and I probably would be more happy if I didn't get scored on," said Khudobin, whose 46 saves were a career-high. "But we got the result and the win and I'm happy about that."

Nathan Gerbe, Andrei Loktionov and Patrick Dwyer scored for the Hurricanes, who won for just the second time in their last nine road games (2-7-0).

Forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Justin Faulk both missed Tuesday's game due to illness and are questionable for tonight.

Carolina has lost two straight in Chicago and fell in defeat 3-2 in a shootout when it hosted the Blackhawks back on Oct. 15. Patrick Sharp had the winner in the tiebreaker for Chicago and also scored in regulation along with Marian Hossa.

Crawford made 32 saves, while Cam Ward had 34 stops for Carolina.

03/21 10:50:00 ET

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