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Rundblad likely in for Timonen for Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger /

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks appear to have another lineup change coming to their fifth and sixth defensemen for Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), with David Rundblad replacing Kimmo Timonen.

"It could happen," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate.

If so, Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey will be the fifth and sixth defensemen playing against the Anaheim Ducks. It would be the third time the Blackhawks have reconfigured their bottom pairing against Anaheim; the Ducks hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Rundblad has played one game in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and was on the ice for two goals-against in the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Ducks in Game 1 at Honda Center. Timonen, 40, played in all 15 of the previous postseason games for Chicago, averaging 9:25 of ice time per game.

"I want to play every game," Rundblad said after Chicago's morning skate. "I had a rough first game. If I play tonight I want to go out there and play better. It's up to me to be better."

Timonen doesn't have a point since coming to Chicago in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline. His plus/minus rating is even for the playoffs but he's minus-3 in this series and was on the ice for two of five Anaheim goals in Game 5 on Monday, a 5-4 overtime win by the Ducks.

"He's been useful in ways," Quenneville said of Timonen. "I think you like his experience around the net. Defensively he's got a good presence, good understanding [and] a good stick. He keeps it simple. So I think that reliability has been useful."

Rundblad finished the regular season with three goals, 11 assists, and a plus-17 rating in 49 games, but received sheltered minutes; the majority of his starts were in the offensive zone, and Quenneville tried to keep him out of the defensive end of the rink as much as possible.

If he plays, Rundblad said he has an agenda of things he'd like to improve. Most important he said is getting the puck out of the defensive zone cleaner and quicker.

"Just small things," Rundblad said. "Be quicker; I think that is the biggest thing. Be quicker, move the puck quicker. I think that will help me out a lot."

There was some question whether rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk might make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in Game 6, but he won't play. Van Riemsdyk, who participated in the morning skate, has missed most of the season because of a broken patella in his left knee and an injury to his right wrist, both of which required surgery to repair. He just returned to skating last week after recovering from the wrist injury.

"He's a little short on the time right now," Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk. "I think that's what we're up against. I think there's still progress out there today. I'm sure every day he's getting stronger and quicker and more comfortable with the game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson - Kyle Palmieri

Jiri Sekac - Rickard Rakell - Emerson Etem

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, James Wisniewski, Chris Wagner, Tomas Fleischmann, Tim Jackman, Jason LaBarbera

Injured: None


Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Bryan Bickell - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp - Antoine Vermette - Teuvo Teravainen

Andrew Desjardins - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Duncan Keith - David Rundblad

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Kyle Cumiskey - Brent Seabrook

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Kimmo Timonen, Kris Versteeg, Daniel Carcillo, Antti Raanta, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg, Ryan Hartman, Phillip Danault

Injured: Michal Rozsival (fractured left ankle)

Status report: Quenneville said Thursday that he would consider all options in regard to playing Toews and Kane together, but he had them split up in line rushes during the morning skate. The rest of the lines remained the same.

Who's hot: Toews has three goals and four points in his past two games, including two goals in the final two minutes of the third period to tie Game 5.

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