DETROIT -- Patrick Kane described the mood in the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room as light the morning of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Captain Jonathan Toews said it is a happy group.
These quotes wouldn't seem very newsworthy throughout most of the 2012-13 season, considering the way the Blackhawks rolled to the Presidents' Trophy and into the second round of the postseason. But the Blackhawks now are behind the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in this best-of-7 Western Conference Semifinal series, and there was plenty of attention Thursday morning paid to how the Blackhawks would handle the situation.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville switched rookie Brandon Saad and veteran Patrick Sharp on the top two forward lines during Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, and though Quenneville didn't confirm it, all indications have been that is how the lineup will start for the Blackhawks in Game 4 Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
The Red Wings are not expected to change their lineup. Coach Mike Babcock had to make several changes during the first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, but this should be the third straight game with the same 18 skaters and everyone in the same place.
Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser skated again Thursday morning, and he the hard cast that had been protecting his broken thumb was removed after seeing the team doctor after practice Wednesday. He now has a hard plastic brace on his thumb, and Wednesday he said he wasn't ruling out a return to the lineup if his teammates can keep winning and advance to the conference finals.
DeKeyser was injured late in Game 2 of the first round, and the immediate diagnosis was for a six-to-eight week recovery, which would have ended his season regardless how far the Red Wings advanced.
Here are the projected lineups: