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Blackhawks focus on 'redemption,' better performance

by Arpon Basu

TAMPA -- The Chicago Blackhawks are apparently looking for redemption.

They are also looking to take a stranglehold on the Stanley Cup Final.

Despite leading the best-of-7 series 1-0 after stealing Game 1 with two late goals in less than two minutes, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is looking forward to having an opportunity to make up for what he felt was a poor performance when the puck is dropped Saturday for Game 2 (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We definitely have energy, we got excitement," Toews said when asked about the Blackhawks looking loose in the morning skate. "We're eager to redeem ourselves and play better in Game 2. I think we're kind of embracing the pressure now, whereas I think in Game 1 there's always that sense of not knowing what to expect from another team and a team that you haven't seen much."

Yes, the Blackhawks may not have been at their best in Game 1. But redemption? Most teams would be thrilled if they walked into an enemy building and took back home-ice advantage in Game 1, no matter how they did it.

Then again, most teams are not the Blackhawks.

"At the end of the day, we got the result we wanted," Toews said. "That doesn't mean that we can be satisfied with the performance we had. We know it's going to take much more than that to continue to win and have success in this series, and that's what we're focused on."

Toews reiterated what the Blackhawks have been talking about for two days; they need a better start to Game 2 than they had in Game 1. But he also mentioned how they can't allow the Lightning to dictate the puck possession game the way they did Wednesday.

He was asked to identify one key adjustment the Blackhawks needed to make.

"To play with the speed we know we can play with, to control the puck better," Toews said in French. "They're a team that doesn't want to give up puck possession either, but we can play the same style."

Speaking of Toews' French, he has surprised some at the Final with how well he is able to speak it, even Lightning center Cedric Paquette, who said he didn't know Toews spoke French and planned to chirp him in that language when they are on the ice together in Game 2.

"He has big shoes to fill following Ryan Kesler," Toews said of his matchup against the Anaheim Ducks center in the Western Conference Final. "I'm looking forward to hearing some of that."

Much like Paquette, many of the media here had never heard Toews speak French, and he was asked Saturday how he became so good at it.

"I grew up speaking it," Toews said. "A better question would be how did it get so bad?"

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane

Kris VersteegBrad RichardsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpAntoine VermetteTeuvo Teravainen

Andrew DesjardinsMarcus KrugerAndrew Shaw

Duncan KeithNiklas Hjalmarsson

Kyle CumiskeyBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaDavid Rundblad

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Daniel Carcillo, Ville Pokka, Phillip Danault, Ryan Hartman, Joakim Nordstrom, Viktor Svedberg, Kimmo Timonen, Trevor van Riemsdyk

Injured: Bryan Bickell (undisclosed)


Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Jonathan Drouin - Cedric Paquette - Brenden Morrow

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison

Matthew Carle - Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Nikita Nesterov, Jonathan Marchessault, Vladislav Namestnikov

Injured: none

Status report: Crawford and Richards did not take the morning skate, but coach Joel Quenneville said they are fine and will play in Game 2. … Bickell did skate Saturday but is not expected to play in Game 2.

Who's hot: The line of Sharp, Vermette and Teravainen produced the Blackhawks goals in Game 1. … Keith extended his point streak to five games with an assist on Teravainen's goal. He has eight assists over those five games.

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