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Blackhawks' Kane, Toews together again for Game 5

Chicago reunites forwards, hopes to extend series against Blues

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

Game 5: BLACKHAWKS at BLUES

Western Conference First Round

St. Louis leads best-of-7 series 3-1

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

ST. LOUIS -- Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be reunited for the Chicago Blackhawks against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series at Scottrade Center on Thursday.

It's a move coach Joel Quenneville doesn't make often, but uses when he needs more offense. With Chicago facing elimination, down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series, he decided it was time.

Chicago won't have Andrew Shaw (two goals and four points), who was suspended for using a homophobic slur in Game 4. The Blackhawks have scored eight goals in the series. Chicago, 11-4 since 2008-09 in elimination games, have been held to three 5-on-5 goals and haven't gotten a goal from Kane, Toews, Marian Hossa or Andrew Ladd.

"At this point of the playoffs, sometimes things call for change," said Kane, who led the NHL with 106 points (46 goals, 60 assists) but hasn't scored a goal in the first four games. "We haven't played with each other much, so hopefully it's kind of that instant chemistry and we can get a win tonight. That's the most important thing, so hopefully it helps us."

That chemistry has helped the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before, including their past two championship runs in 2013 and 2015.

In 2015, Toews and Kane were put together in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, and the Blackhawks won twice to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

"There have been some opportunities lost," Quenneville said. "The quality and quantity of opportunities we've had offensively has been more than we budgeted, but the finish … give their goalie some credit, but that's where we've got to get to, and try to find a way."

Based on the morning skate, the Blackhawks will have numerous other changes. They rolled out new line combinations and will play defenseman David Rundblad in place of struggling Michal Rozsival. Rundblad, 25, last played in the NHL against the Vancouver Canucks on Dec 13.

The Blues, 5-0 in their history with a chance to clinch a series in Game 5 at home, also will make a lineup switch; coach Ken Hitchcock liked defenseman Robert Bortuzzo's Game 4 performance so much, he'll remain in the lineup.

Carl Gunnarsson, who missed Game 4 with an upper-body injury, will slide back into the lineup and rookie Joel Edmundson will be a healthy scratch for the first time in the series.

"Yeah, we liked the way [Bortuzzo] played," Hitchcock said. "He showed great composure with the puck, physical, smart, played very well. We want to keep him going."

Gunnarsson, who played in Games 1-3, said he's ready. He began to warm up before Game 4, but gave Bortuzzo the word that he should be ready to step in.

"That's one of the toughest things," Gunnarsson said. "Obviously your, kind of, pain threshold goes up a little bit during playoffs. At that point, I felt like, 'You know what, if something happens during the game, that's going to make it worse,' and I don't feel like that's going to benefit the team. I'd rather have a healthy guy in there to play a full 60 minutes and possibly more."

Bortuzzo impressed his teammates in his first NHL playoff game.

"He's had to come out of the lineup when he's playing better than other guys, just kind of got lost in the shuffle," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Every time he comes back in, he's effective."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLACKHAWKS

Richard Panik - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Teuvo Teravainen

Andrew Ladd - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa

Brandon Mashinter - Andrew Desjardins - Dale Weise

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Erik Gustafsson - Brent Seabrook

Trevor van Riemsdyk - David Rundblad

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: Andrew Shaw (suspension), Dale Weise, Michal Rozsival, Viktor Svedberg, Christian Ehrhoff

BLUES

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

Kevin Shattenkirk - Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: None.

Scratched: Joel Edmundson, Dmitrij Jaskin, Magnus Paajarvi, Petteri Lindbohm and Anders Nilsson.

Status report: Kane is playing in Hossa's usual spot and Teravainen is taking Kane's place on the second line. Ladd and Hossa are being moved from their wing spots on the top line. Kruger is usually on the fourth line, which will now be centered by Desjardins. ... Rundblad played nine games with the Blackhawks this season before being loaned to the ZSC Lions of Switzerland's National League A.

Who's hot: Tarasenko has 13 goals in 17 career postseason games for the Blues. Elliott has a 1.70 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in the series. ... Chicago's Duncan Keith has three goals and four points in the past three games.

 

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