Hawks' Quenneville opts for more shake 'n bake
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Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That's when Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville usually turns to the trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
That was the Hawks' first line for Saturday's Game 5 against Detroit at the United Center.
"For us three we played together a lot my first couple years in the league and just kind of developed some chemistry to where it was pretty instant," Kane said. "I think we just have to remember how to play with one another. We haven't done it in a while. Hopefully we can have a good first couple shifts and get some chemistry back right away.
"A couple years ago we played together a lot and were really hot at one time, scoring a lot of goals."
Quenneville tried to be coy about his lines for Game 5, especially Toews, Kane and Sharp, but he let it slip that his three stars would be playing together.
"They've played in the past and they played during the year, a few shifts here and there," Quenneville said. "I think they like playing with one another and we'll see how it goes."
As for the other forward lines, Michal Handzus started between Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell while Andrew Shaw centered for Viktor Stalberg and Brandon Saad on the third line.
"The second line they have two pretty good players too so pick your poison," Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg said. "They're such a deep team, they can put guys together on the first line and still have great guys on the second line."
Dave Bolland, minus-2 with no points in four playoff games before Saturday, was dropped to the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.
The defense pairs were the same at the morning skate despite Quenneville hinting on Friday that Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith could be reunited.
"It doesn't really matter who I end up playing with," said Niklas Hjalmarsson, who has been Keith's partner throughout the playoffs. "I know the guy next to me is going to have a great effort. It's just a matter of focusing on yourself and your own game instead of thinking about what everyone else is doing out there."
Know your buddy:
There isn't another Hawk who knows Jonathan Toews better than his pal Patrick Kane. So did Kane think Toews was frustrated in Game 4 when he took 3 penalties and saw his goalless streak reach nine games?
"I think it's tough not to be," Kane said. "I think all of us are. I don't think he would be frustrated if we were winning. You could say that about everyone in the room. If we were winning everyone would be happy and not worrying about too much."
This is a different kind of animal for the Red Wings, who don't have much experience playing the underdog role in the playoffs.
"The person climbing the mountain is always a lot hungrier than the person on top, that's the old saying," said Dan Cleary. "Chicago's got a talented team, a team full of champions, full of winners. The close-out game is always the toughest."
The Red Wings certainly weren't feeling as much pressure as the Hawks going into Game 5 on Saturday.
"These guys have won before, they've trailed before, just like we have," Cleary said. "We know what an elimination game means, how it is at the beginning, how determined the other team is. You got to focus on your game, make sure you're skating and match their intensity."
The Hawks have decided not to renew the contracts of Rockford assistant coaches Steve Poapst and Ben Simon.
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