Goalie Corey Crawford will start consecutive games for the first time in three weeks when he faces the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center.
After Ray Emery had a run of six starts in a row, Crawford stopped 20 of 21 shots -- including a highlight-reel stick save on an open net -- against the Canadiens in a 5-1 victory before the Hawks' four-day Christmas break.
"He's coming off a great game," coach Joel Quenneville said after Monday's morning skate. "We have a lot of confidence in his ability. He earned the back-to-back starts based on his last game, and we want him playing."
Crawford said he's taking "a shot-by-shot" approach and not looking too far ahead.
"Obviously, you want to get right back to where we were playing," Crawford said. "Rest can only help. We expect a tough game [Monday]. There's no easy games in this league. Especially with [Jeff] Carter being back for them, it's a different team.
"It's our job to be prepared and ready right from the start. I think we will be."
The head cases
Rookie center Marcus Kruger was cleared to play after suffering a concussion Dec. 20 against the Pittsburgh Penguins when defenseman Deryk Engelland hit him in the head. Engelland was suspended three games for the hit.
Kruger joined the Hawks late for their morning skate Monday after being re-examined and cleared.
"It feels good to be back out there and I'm looking forward to [Monday night]," Kruger said.
Daniel Carcillo, though, remains out of the Hawks' lineup after suffering what's believed to be a head injury against the Wild on Dec. 14.
Carcillo declined to talk specifically about how his injury happened. He did say he started to feel better before the Christmas break.
"I haven't skated in about 10 days," Carcillo said. "They want me to get a few skates in. That's what I'm going to do over the next few days. They're playing well right now."