Sabres' Bogosian and Sobotka return in Chicago

Casey Nelson stays in, but Johan Larsson does not

Paul Hamilton
March 07, 2019 - 3:59 pm

Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki - USA TODAY Sports


Chicago, IL (WGR 550) - Phil Housley was impressed with Casey Nelson’s game against Edmonton on Monday, so he’s leaving him in the lineup. Matt Hunwick comes out as Zach Bogosian goes back in. Housley said, “I thought Casey had a terrific game when he went in, so he’ll still be in the lineup.”

Brandon Montour had to play the left side when Jake McCabe got hurt against Toronto. He’ll play with Bogosian, but Housley wouldn’t say which one will be on the left, “We’ll evaluate that and make that as a game-time decision.”

I’ve been told by players that it’s easier for left-handed shots to play right defense than it is for right-handed shots to play on the left side. Housley agrees, “I think it is, it’s just uncomfortable guys playing on the right side are just more comfortable when they get a puck on a breakout, but whoever is going to play on the left we want them to feel comfortable so we can give them the best chance for success.”

Montour didn’t mind moving over to that side against the Leafs. He said, “It’s a little bit of an adjustment. It’s picking more pucks up off your backhand, but I’ve played a little bit of left before and if it needs to be that way, you’ve just got to manage it, maybe be a little smarter with the puck.”

Pat Kane had two goals and two assists in the Blackhawks' 7-3 victory in Buffalo. Kane is second in league scoring with 40 goals and 54 assists for 94 points. Housley said they have to know where he is on the ice, “We have to have an awareness when he’s on the ice, so we’re going to have to manage the puck because once the puck gets turned over, he’s going and he’s going to try to get behind you or try to make plays off the rush.”

In 16 games against his hometown team, Kane has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points.

Corey Crawford will climb in the crease for Chicago. He’s a perfect 9-0-0 against the Sabres with a 1.86 goals-against and .929 save percentage. It helps that the Sabres haven’t won in Chicago since 2007.

Buffalo is 1-6-3 in its last 10 against Chicago.

Carter Hutton will start in goal. He’s 1-4-1 in his last six decisions. He gave up three goals in 25:52 in Toronto, but Linus Ullmark took the loss in relief.

Hutton is 16-18-4 with a 2.82 goals-against and .911 save percentage.

The Sabres have scored nine goals in their last three games, but they lost two of them. They gave up 12 in games where points were there for the taking.

Johan Larsson has not been his usual self defensively and it’s going to cost him his spot in the lineup. Vladimir Sobotka returns from injury and will play there.

Larsson is pointless in his last seven games and has one goal in 25 games.

Sobotka has one goal in 47 games.

Chicago has lost four of five games and have been awful defensively. In the last 10 games, the Hawks have allowed 47 goals.

It blows my mind how NHL scouts couldn’t see the pure goal scoring talent of Alex DeBrincat. All they could see was he was small at 5’ 7". In his three seasons in Erie, the winger had two seasons of 51 goals and one year where he netted 65. In his rookie season with Chicago, DeBrincat scored 28 goals, and this season he’s up to 36 in 66 games. He was left on the board until pick 39 in the second round where the Blackhawks selected him.

Tim Murray had two picks before that and took Alex Nylander at No. 8 and Rasmus Asplund at No. 33. The only two players from the 2016 Entry Draft that have scored more goals than DeBrincat are Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.

Dylan Strome played parts of three seasons in Arizona, but could never catch on, scoring seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 68 games. He played with DeBrincat in Erie and since being traded to Chicago and getting back together with his old winger, Strome has 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 42 games.

Join Brian Koziol for the pre-game starting at 7:30 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Casey Nelson and Brandon Montour.

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