Matthew Highmore

Kevin Lankinen to Start for Blackhawks, With Reese Johnson Set for NHL Debut Sunday

The Chicago Blackhawks have five players on the NHL’s COVID protocol list, but they are still gearing up for their game Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center.

Goaltender Kevin Lankinen will get the start for the Blackhawks, his sixth in the team’s last seven games. In five games so far this season, Lankinen has posted a 2-1-2 record with a 2.16 goals against average and a .930 save percentage, giving him the inside track as the Blackhawks look for their long-term starting goaltender.

With a good number of players out of the lineup, the Blackhawks will bring in a pair of forwards, including Reese Johnson, who will make his NHL debut on Sunday night.

In 52 games with the Rockford IceHogs last season, Johnson had four goals and four assists.

Matthew Highmore, who has appeared in four games so far this season, will also draw back into the lineup for the contest, head coach Jeremy Colliton said. He has yet to notch a point in four games so far this season, with three shots on goal to his credit.

Currently, the Blackhawks have five players in the league’s COVID protocol, including forwards Alex DeBrincat, Lucas Wallmark and Ryan Carpenter. Defensemen Adam Boqvist is also in the protocol, as is Nicolas Beaudin, who was added to the list Saturday.

Puck drop between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets is set for 6 p.m., and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.

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