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Blackhawks tinker with lineup for Game 4

Chicago likely to use Rundblad, Desjardins against Blues

by Louie Korac / Correspondent



St. Louis leads best-of-7 series 2-1

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, FS-MW, CSN-CH

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to make two changes, one on defense and one at forward, when they host the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round series on Tuesday.

Defenseman David Rundblad, who last played in the NHL against the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 13, could play. 

"I told him to be ready to get into the series today," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate.

Rookie Viktor Svedberg is the most likely candidate to be scratched if Rundblad plays. 

Rundblad, 25, played nine games with the Blackhawks in the regular season and had two assists. After clearing waivers, he was loaned to the ZSC Lions of Switzerland's National League A, the same team as Austin Matthews, the No. 1 prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft.

Rundblad had two goals and 13 assists in 11 regular-season games for the Lions; he had one assist and was a minus-4 in four playoff games. He returned to play 10 games with Rockford of the American Hockey League, and had two goals and two assists before the Blackhawks recalled him April 11.

"He was always fine," Quenneville said of Rundblad. "I think he's got real good play recognition, patience with the puck, positionally fine. I think it's in the puck area, defending around the net, that he's got to get better at. He's a good puck mover, good feel for the game on the offensive point. Around the net, I think he's made in-roads and improvement in that area. He's come back here and he looks better."

Forward Andrew Desjardins, who was scratched in Game 3, likely will reenter the lineup for Dale Weise.

The Blues, who are treating Game 4 as a must-win game, will go with the same lineup they've played in the first three games. Coach Ken Hitchcock will move Alexander Steen to a line with Paul Stastny and Troy Brouwer, and slide Robby Fabbri in with Patrik Berglund and David Backes.

The Blues made those changes in the third period on Sunday and it helped them overcome a 2-1 deficit.

"I don't think their roles change at all," Hitchcock said. "They play their game, they're both effective in different ways. We like Robby's speed, his tenacity, the way he supports the puck, he does a lot of things that allow you to play with great tempo."

Stastny, Fabbri and Brouwer had comprised the Blues' hottest line heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they have two assists combined, both by Fabbri in Game 3.

"We want to play the same way," Stastny said. "We've played together before. At the start of the third, I don't want to say sparked things up, but changed maybe a different element that made us tougher, different to defend against. [Steen] plays a different game than [Fabbri], but he holds onto it a little more and brings guys to him. You know when he has it, you try and get open with speed and he'll find you."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Robby Fabbri - Patrik Berglund - David Backes

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Steve Ott

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: None

Scratched: Ryan Reaves, Dmitrij Jaskin, Magnus Paajarvi, Petteri Lindbohm, Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Anders Nilsson


Andrew Ladd - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Tomas Fleischmann - Teuvo Teravainen - Richard Panik

Andrew Desjardins - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook

David Rundblad - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: Dale Weise, Viktor Svedberg, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Mashinter, Christian Ehrhoff, Michael Leighton

Status report: It's unclear until pregame warmup where Rundblad will slot into the defensive pairings. The mostly likely spot is on the third pairing with Rozsival. If by chance Rozsival is scratched, Rundblad is capable of playing the right point on the third unit. ... Ott will play a second consecutive game, making Reaves a healthy scratch.

Who's hot: Kane has three assists the past two games. ... Backes has a goal and two assists in the series.

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