The Chicago Blackhawks will get some much-needed balance back in their lineup on Friday night as Marian Hossa will make his return to the team.
Hossa, who has been out since mid-February with a lower body injury, was close to returning on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues, but after the morning skate he opted for a more cautious approach that will bring him back into the fold against the Dallas Stars.
Hossa’s return couldn’t have come at a better time. The Blackhawks and Stars are tied in the Central Division standings, and with just 14 games remaining in the regular season, every point counts as Chicago tries to secure home ice advantage and avoid having to play one of their chief Central rivals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Stars will be without several of their key contributors, as former Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp and defenseman John Klingberg will both miss Friday’s tilt. Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns is expected to make his NHL debut in the game, going up against the team that traded him to Dallas over the summer.
As for Hossa, he will return to his spot as the right wing on Chicago’s top line, joining Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd in that group. Andrew Shaw, who has filled in at both wing spots on the line, will drop down to fourth line center for Friday’s game.