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Blackhawks could alter defense matchups in Game 2

Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 5:43 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / Stanley Cup Final series blog

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Stanley Cup Final series blog
Blackhawks could alter defense matchups in Game 2

CHICAGO -- An interesting strategic matchup went overlooked in the aftermath of the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 triple-overtime victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Throughout the nearly six periods in Game 1 Wednesday night, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville opted not to match his top defense pair of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook against the Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton.

Krejci, Horton and Lucic are 1-2-3 in scoring during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they spent the night primarily facing Chicago's second pairing, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya, at even strength.

Quenneville's strategy had mixed results. Lucic scored Boston's first two goals, each assisted by Krejci, but the line didn't score again. Horton was injured in the first overtime and did not return to the game; he was replaced primarily by Tyler Seguin.

Keith and Seabrook played the bulk of their 5-on-5 minutes matched up against Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. Bergeron scored a power-play goal, but the line was scoreless during 5-on-5 play.

Quenneville gave no indication whether he'll make any changes for Game 2 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"You can look at their top two lines [and] you could argue going into it who was going to get the matchup," Quenneville said Thursday. "All year long those two top [defense pairs], you usually see their top two lines. Sometimes on a game-to-game or matchup-to-matchup, it can fluctuate. [Hjalmarsson] and Johnny Oduya, they usually could see the other team's top group [depending on matchups]."

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We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

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