Blackhawks to showcase kids in finale

ST. LOUIS -- Goalie Carter Hutton will make his NHL debut Saturday as the Chicago Blackhawks rest many of their regulars in their final game of the regular season against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

The 27-year-old Hutton played for Rockford in the AHL this season.

“It will be exciting and a good test for him,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “They’re a big team and they go to the net hard.”

Quenneville said among the players who did not make the trip to St. Louis were Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad and Niklas Hjalmarsson. He said he was not concerned about resting all of those players against the Blues, who need a victory to hold on to fourth place, and home-ice advantage, in the first round of the playoffs.

“We had a busy week,” he said. “Everybody said we could have rested some guys in the last three, four or five games, but we looked at this game here and we have a group that’s going to be excited to play. The other guys need a day off. We dressed a lot of those guys at home last night.

“We are worried about our own business. I think we’ve got to give some credit to the lineup that is going to be playing tonight. Hopefully they will surprise everybody.”

The Blackhawks recalled eight players from Rockford on Friday, and among the players Quenneville said will be in the lineup tonight are Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Jimmy Hayes, Drew LeBlanc and Ryan Stanton.

“It’s an opportunity,” Quenneville said. “Some of these guys deserve to play. It’s a chance for us to see them as well. They are not that far away from being able to help us.”

The Blackhawks will know by the end of the night who their opponent will be in the first round of the playoffs with all three possible opponents, Detroit, Minnesota and Columbus, in action tonight. Quenneville joked about bringing a television to the bench to watch those games, but was serious when he said he will be paying attention.

“We’ll definitely be watching all three scenarios,” Quenneville said.