Ray Emery starts again for Hawks

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery will start his third consecutive game Wednesday night against Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild, coach Joel Quenneville announced.

"There are always plans, but when a goalie gets a chance to get the net you don't disrupt it, you let him go," Quenneville said Tuesday. "You give him some confidence by putting him back in the net. He's giving us what we're looking for. At the same time [Corey] Crawford is working on his game anticipating a chance to get back in. It's a healthy situation, but Ray is playing well, deserves to keep going."

Emery was in net for the previous two games, both wins, and relieved Crawford last Monday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Phoenix. He entered that game after the Hawks got down 3-0 and helped his team to a point in the standings.

"It's nice to play consistently and contribute when I get the chance," Emery said.

Overall, Emery is 6-1-2 and recently raised his save percentage to .905. His goals against average is 2.69.

Also playing Wednesday for the first time after sitting out five games is winger Bryan Bickell. Bickell was a healthy scratch but gets a new chance in the lineup due to Ben Smith's demotion to the minors on Monday.

"I'll take the opportunity and do the best I can do with it," Bickell said.

Bickell's last point came on Halloween. He lined up next to Dave Bolland and Andrew Brunette on the Hawks' third line during practice on Tuesday.

"First couple games I was frustrated (sitting out), but I have to take it on the ice," he said. "I think the work has paid off and I'll be ready."

Quenneville reiterated his stance about what Bickell needs to do to stay in the lineup.

"With his speed, size and presence he should be more of a factor," Quenneville stated. "We need to see that more consistently in his game. If he does that he's a player you can use in all situations."

As for Smith, Quenneville indicated the Hawks wanted him to be playing in "more offensive situations," hence his demotion to the minors. Smith was seeing third and fourth line minutes with the Hawks.

"We want him playing more," Quenneville said. "I think Benny, his upside offensively, he can give us something there. I think not playing the quantity or the quality that we would like or he would like, we want him playing. Having an extra guy around here, he's in position where we can get him back there and get that game back to where he finished the season with us [last year]."

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.