Chicago Blackhawks look to finally break long streak
It has been a long, long time since the Chicago Blackhawks won a regular-season game in Philadelphia.
So long that Tony Amonte was the team's leading scorer, a 34-year-old Chris Chelios was just halfway through his career, and Ed Belfour was sharing the net with Jeff Hackett.
Believe it or not, 1996 was the last time the Hawks won a game at Philadelphia in the regular season, a 4-1 triumph on Nov. 9.
"Wow. That's an eternity in our business," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Wednesday at Johnny's IceHouse West. "I didn't know it was that long. Thanks for reminding me."
The Hawks, who did win Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final at Philly, will look to snap their two-decade regular-season skid when the two teams square off Thursday. The Hawks have lost their last five games at Philly by a combined score of 18-8. Last year Scott Darling started in net because Corey Crawford was forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy.
"It's not an easy building for anybody," Quenneville said. "We feel like let's change it up and get off to a great start."
Jan Rutta was back at practice Wednesday and on the top defensive pairing with Duncan Keith. Gustav Forsling skated with Brent Seabrook, and Cody Franson moved down to play with Connor Murphy.
Jordan Oesterle and Michal Kempny likely will be scratched in against the Flyers on Thursday.
Oesterle has played in just three of 15 games, but the Hawks would have to place him on waivers if they want him to go to Rockford.
"We haven't discussed that," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We feel he can play. We feel he gives us a nice asset, some offensive versatility on the back end. … We've got eight up here. You can never have enough defense."
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp -- who will make up the Blackhawks' top line Thursday -- have played in a combined 2,371 regular-season games and have 845 goals and 1,156 assists to their names.
On the other side of the spectrum, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman and Alex DeBrincat -- the Hawks' third line -- have played in 186 games and have combined for 35 goals and 47 assists.