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Blackhawks need Rundblad, Cumiskey to contribute

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- They likely won't play a lot, but the Chicago Blackhawks still need solid efforts from defensemen David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Each will play in his first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will be expected to do what he did in Game 6 of the best-of-7 series at United Center on Wednesday. Cumiskey and Rundblad combined to play just 13:08, but they weren't on the ice for any Anaheim goals and the Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 to force Game 7.

"Yeah, comparable," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday when asked about his expectations for the two defensemen. "Same game, same type of approach. They both did a good job. We'll see how the game goes tonight."

Game 6 was Rundblad's first action since Game 1, when he finished with a minus-1 rating and was on the ice for the Ducks' first two goals. He played Wednesday instead of 40-year old Kimmo Timonen, who was a healthy scratch for the first time in the postseason.

Cumiskey didn't play Game 1 but saw limited minutes in the next five games.

"Certainly they're a part of it and effective," Quenneville said. "We'll see how it goes today."

Faceoffs are part of it as well.

The home team has won the majority of faceoffs in each of the first six games, with a greater disparity in the final percentage in the past three games. Being the home team gives the Ducks get two inherent advantages in Game 7: They get the last line charge, and they can put their sticks down last before the puck is dropped for faceoffs.

"Usually [on] home ice, the [home team's center] has the advantage to come second [with the stick]," said Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette, who's winning 58.1 percent of his faceoffs in the playoffs. "Sometimes you get a little bit of cheating going on there. You try to take advantage as much as you can, try to give your team the best chance to start with the puck."

Chicago's biggest challenge is negating those edges to lessen the effectiveness of the Ducks getting the last line change.

"I think with the advantage of going down second might be to the advantage of the home club," Quenneville said Saturday before the game. "I think going into faceoffs, when you're at a little bit of a disadvantage, maybe sometimes going for 50-50 [faceoffs], having the guys in the wings help out, we talk a lot about that. At the same time ... it's not just the onus on the faceoff guy."

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