CHICAGO -- It was a problem area for much of the regular season and hasn't really improved from a statistical standpoint for the Chicago Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Chicago's power play continues to struggle -- to put it mildly. After going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday at Staples Center, the Blackhawks are 1-for-12 in this best-of-7 series (8.3 percent).
They are 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) in the postseason, and 1-for-22 (4.6 percent) in power plays on the road in the playoffs.
"You look at maybe [Game 4] and we trailed for at least half the game there until we tied it up in the second [at even strength]," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Friday. "We feel if you take advantage of a few of your power play chances there, maybe you could take the lead and take a little more control of the game and distance yourself a little bit from the other team."
BOSTON -- On most hockey teams, the role of fourth-line center is rarely a source of great debate.
But the way the Boston Bruins are built and the way they play the game makes them unlike most hockey teams.
They are a team built on balance and depth, where the role of top-line scorer is no more or less important than a fourth-line grinder or enforcer.
Many teams say that is the case, but few actually put it in practice the way the Bruins do.
So when Gregory Campbell fractured his right fibula in the second period of Wednesday night's 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, it created a hole far larger than it might have on a typical hockey team losing its fourth-line center.
That hole in the lineup will be filled by Kaspars Daugavins, coach Claude Julien confirmed Friday morning ahead of Game 4 of the conference final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But filling Campbell's role on the team will be done by committee.
"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there," Julien said Friday morning. "He brings a lot. When you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left.”
BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin was chosen by the Boston Bruins with the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. At the time, the belief around the League was he would be a top-line player with strong production on the offensive end.
Just under three years after he was drafted, Seguin finds himself on the Bruins' third line in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, filling a role he probably never envisioned himself playing at this stage of his career.
The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the top-seeded Penguins 3-0 with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final as soon as Friday. That is exactly why Seguin has no problem with how he's being used by Boston coach Claude Julien.
"It's an adjustment," Seguin said Friday. "But I think in the back of your head all you think about is going all the way and doing it for your team. Someone's got to do it. In the playoffs there's always someone doing something that they're not used to, whether it's injuries or whatnot. I'm doing what I can [while] being moved out of my regular position."
BOSTON -- After a slow start to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' penalty kill has been nearly airtight from the second round on.
Heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Bruins have killed off 26 of 28 power plays since the start of their second-round series against the New York Rangers.
Center Gregory Campbell is done for the rest of the postseason with a broken fibula. He usually combines with fourth-line partner Daniel Paille to form one of Boston's three main pairs on their penalty kill, which ranked fourth in the NHL during the regular season.
"It's tough. He plays such a hard game," forward Brad Marchand said of losing Campbell. "He's such a big part of our team. You saw the last couple of rounds, he's been very big. He's not really a guy you can really replace, but everybody has to step up a little bit and hopefully, collectively we can fill that void."
Such a scenario would be construed as a failure for a team that was the odds-on favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final, especially after general manager Ray Shero loaded up before the NHL Trade Deadline with the acquisitions of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray.
As such, there is a consensus that the 2013-14 Penguins would look significantly different if the team is bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs this weekend. There have been some rumblings coach Dan Byslma would lose his job over such a failure.
Bylsma addressed that issue during his off-day press conference Thursday.
"I don't coach, have never coached for my job," Blysma said. "When I took over as coach of this hockey team in 2009, I came here to win hockey games, and that's where we're at right now. We know exactly what's in front of us with being down 0-3, but I believe in that group, I believe in that team, I believe in how we battled and how we're going to battle. And we're going to go in knowing we have an elimination game and win Game 4."
Richards did not take part in the team's morning skate at Staples Center on Thursday, and coach Darryl Sutter said he would not play.
Chicago leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1.
LOS ANGELES -- Niklas Hjalmarsson will move into Duncan Keith's spot on the top defense pairing for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Staples Center (NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Keith, the 2010 Norris Trophy winner, is suspended for the game because of a high-sticking infraction on Kings center Jeff Carter in the second period of Game 3. Based on the pregame warmup line rushes, Hjalmarsson will skate with Brent Seabrook on the top pairing.
Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival, who were the team's third pairing at the start of the postseason, will be the second duo. Oduya moved to the second pair for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals when Chicago coach Joel Quenneville reunited Keith and Seabrook on the top pair against the Detroit Red Wings.
Nick Leddy, who dropped from the second pair to the third for Game 5 against the Red Wings and has seen his ice time reduced in the second half of this postseason run, will skate with Sheldon Brookbank, who is making his 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in place of Keith.
Based on warmups, the Kings' lineup will remain the same from Game 3. Center Mike Richards remains out with a concussion.
Here is Chicago's projected lineup for Game 4:
BEVERLEY HILLS, Calif. -- When the Chicago Blackhawks dropped three of the first four games in the Western Conference Semifinals, it was the first dose of adversity for a team that stormed through a shortened regular season as the NHL's top team.
Now the Blackhawks will face another test in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Chicago will be without top defenseman Duncan Keith, who was suspended for one game for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter in Game 3.
"Big loss for us," Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival said Thursday. "But it is what it is. We all have to go out and step up our game and be a little better. We'll see what the defensive pairing will be for tonight. That's a big loss, but you have to deal with it. That's the way it is."
LOS ANGELES -- Jarret Stoll was good enough as the Los Angeles Kings' top-line center in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final that he will find himself again in between Dustin Brown and Justin Williams at the start of Game 4 Thursday at Staples Center against the Chicago Blackhawks (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).Stoll played 28 shifts totaling more than 17 minutes and was a plus-1 with two shots on goal in the Kings' 3-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday. It was the most he played and the most effective he's been in three games since returning from a concussion that cost him the final six games of the conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks.
"That's the best I felt since I came back for sure," Stoll said. "I definitely wasn't happy with my Game 2 and a lot happier with my Game 3, but we know we have to be even better than we were in Game 3 to get a win here in Game 4."
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It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.