Quenneville continues to mix, match Blackhawks' lines
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Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl checks the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad during Monday's Game 3 at Detroit.
If you noticed a little spark during Monday's game when coach Joel Quenneville moved Patrick Sharp to the top line alongside Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews and dropped rookie Brandon Saad to the second line, you weren't alone.
"I thought we created something there," Hossa said. "Sharpie's one of the top scorers in the league. Try to get him the puck, find each other. Keep it simple. Shoot it and go to the net.
"Having him there, little things changed. And having Saader on the other line, something changed, too."
Sharp admitted he enjoyed his time with Hossa and Toews.
"Yeah," he said. "But that's up to Joel. He's got a good feel for the team, especially the forwards, mixing and matching.
"I'll play wherever he puts me, and I trust he knows the right combinations."
So might there be some more line shuffling in Game 4?
"We'll see," Quenneville said. "We'll look at our lines as we go along here, whether we fluctuate in games or going into games. Loosen things up, maybe."
Maybe there wasn't a scrum, a face wash or words exchanged after every whistle Monday in Detroit, but it sure seemed like it.
Either way, the Hawks brought the feisty with them to Joe Louis Arena, and Joel Quenneville, for the most part, liked what he saw.
"Absolutely, get the juices at the level that are going to be necessary going forward," Quenneville said. "I thought going into the game they got our attention in Game 2, and (Monday) was the way we had to compete. And some bounces didn't go our way, but certainly that's what's going to be necessary going forward."
Within reason, that is.
"We need to be a little more on the edge," Marian Hossa said. "Like in the last game I thought we had great intensity, lots of energy.
"But you also know you don't want to go overboard and take bad penalties because you know they've got really good players on the PP. You have to be smart about it."
Two goals total in your last two games is no way to win a playoff series, as the Hawks are finding out.
But even though they were held to just 1 goal in their loss Monday, the Hawks were feeling much better about their play in the offensive zone compared to the debacle that was Game 2.
"You'd like to score goals, no question about it," Patrick Sharp said. "I don't think there's any worry or panic in our locker room.
"We created a few chances, hit a couple of posts — there were plenty of opportunities out there. Goals are going to come when you least expect them."
Rookie Brandon Saad may still be without a goal in the postseason, but if Saad keeps improving like he did in Game 3, Joel Quenneville thinks it'll be just a matter of time before he lights the lamp.
"I look back to the start of the season there. We liked the way he was playing; he just didn't have the production to reflect it," Quenneville said. "(Monday), I thought he was very good in a lot of ways. He had the puck a lot. He was dangerous off the rush.
"I think him scoring a goal might help that confidence in that area, but certainly he was doing the right things that lead to some production in that way, and hopefully he can get it."
He said it:
"Do what you got to do."
— Joel Quenneville's response when asked if the extracurriculars in the final minute of Game 3 were the Hawks trying to send a message.
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