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Hawks say changes are adjustments, not panic

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- They might be down a game to Nashville in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, but the Blackhawks aren't showing signs of panic heading into Sunday night's Game 2 at the United Center.
At least, not outwardly. The Hawks are saying all the right things as the game approaches, but the moves that coach Joel Quenneville is expected to make have some wondering whether he has changed the Hawks' alert level to "severe."
After talking earlier this week about the advantages of splitting top defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Quenneville will reunite the Olympic duo tonight -- after just one playoff game and roughly three weeks spent working apart.
He also shuffled the lines at Saturday's practice, with Andrew Ladd playing up with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the No. 1 line and Patrick Sharp shifting to the No. 2 line with Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane. Panic moves or simple postseason adjustments?
"We're not worried about this one bit, but we do need to go out there and even the series," Hawks forward Kris Versteeg said following Sunday's optional skate. "It's definitely not (hitting) a panic button thing. Nobody's panicking here. But you definitely don't want to go down 2-0. Everyone knows that, but there's no panic button or anything like that. We're confident with what we can do."
Nashville coach Barry Trotz brushed off questions about Quenneville's moves as mere "playoff adjustments" when he spoke on Saturday. He doesn't think any differently a day later.
"Game 1 was a tough game," he said. "It was tough for both teams. Tonight's going to be tougher. We've made a couple adjustments. They've made a couple of adjustments. It's going to be two good teams going head to head."
Trotz hopes to see his team playing even better than it did in the 4-1 victory on Friday night. In that game, the Predators were largely outplayed for the first two periods before overcoming a 1-0 deficit to start the third. Trotz called the Predators "rusty" despite the win, thanks largely to playing just two games in 13 days prior to it.
He expects his team to play better tonight, especially on defense.
"I think we can do a better job checking consistently," Trotz said. "I don't think we did that very well in the first game, to be honest. There are times when you have to really be mentally sharp, and we weren't mentally sharp."
Quenneville had pretty much the same concern about the Hawks.
"They had the puck in our end more than we'd like," he said. "We'd like to make them play defense more. We can be better and stronger in all areas."

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