New-look Blackhawks play host to Hurricanes

( - The Chicago Blackhawks got a bit of a head start to the NHL's trade deadline and Monday's lineup figures to reflect that.

The Blackhawks are expected to debut forward Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen in Monday night's home matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Armed with the knowledge that forward Patrick Kane will miss about 12 weeks with a fractured clavicle, the Blackhawks acquired Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday for defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round selection.

Vermette was Arizona's second-leading scorer at the time of the deal with 35 points, having tallied 13 goals and 22 assists over 63 games this season. He has also played in 456 straight games, which is the second-longest active games played streak in the NHL.

The 32-year-old is expected to play tonight as the second-line center with the Blackhawks trying to replace Kane's 64 points that are just one off the NHL lead.

Timonen, meanwhile, was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday for a pair of draft choices that included a 2015 second-rounder.

Timonen, who turns 40 on March 18, has not played this season since he was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs back in early August. He was cleared by doctors earlier in February and had been practicing with the Flyers.

The veteran Finn skated alongside Brent Seabrook in practice on Sunday.

Timonen was actually acquired during a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, one that snapped Chicago's two-game win streak and was their fourth loss in five games.

Chicago was able to offset Kane's absence with an outstanding performance from Corey Crawford in Thursday's 3-0 triumph over Florida, but backup Scott Darling couldn't match that effort in this one. He finished with 25 saves.

"Bad game from start to finish. It seemed like we weren't very crisp with the puck," said Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp.

The Blackhawks are third in the Central Division with 79 points, six back of the St. Louis Blues and three up on the fourth-place Winnipeg Jets.

Crawford is expected to start tonight and is 3-2-0 lifetime versus the Hurricanes with a 2.37 goals against average and .918 save percentage in five meetings.

The Blackhawks swept the two-game series last season and have won three in a row as the host versus the Hurricanes.

Carolina is looking to play the role of spoiler and has done so over the past week with a three-game winning streak. That is just one victory shy of a season-high four-game run from Nov. 1-7, but the Hurricanes are still 15 points back of a wild card spot.

The Hurricanes topped the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders on Saturday 5-3 on the strength of a four-goal second period. Jay McClement scored twice for his first multi-goal game since a 2010 hat trick, Brad Malone tallied a goal and an assist, and Justin Faulk and Michal Jordan also scored.

Cam Ward made 21 saves in the victory.

"I liked the way we played," said Carolina coach Bill Peters. "We played a disciplined game. They've got a very good power play, so we didn't put it on display."

Coincidence or not, McClement signed a two-year contract extension on Sunday with the Hurricanes, who have been sellers ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

"Jay has proven to be a valuable veteran leader for our club and it was important for us to keep him in Raleigh," said Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis in a statement. "He's one of the league's best face-off men and has played a key role in what currently stands as the best penalty-killing unit in team history."

Ward figures to start this contest and is 3-0-2 in his career versus the Blackhawks, posting a solid 1.17 GAA and .965 save percentage with two shutouts.