The Chicago Blackhawks need to take a game in Detroit from the Red Wings this week in their Western Conference semifinal series. To do that, coach Joel Quenneville would do well to shuffle his lineup a bit going into Game 3 Monday.
After Detroit earned a split of the first two games at the United Center with Saturday's 4-1 defeat of the 'Hawks, the action moves in the Motor City for the next two games. Winning in Detroit is far from impossible. To do so, however, it might take making a change or two.
What moves could bring about a Game 3 win for Chicago? Let's explore a few.
Viktor Stalberg: In
This seems to be how Quenneville is leaning based upon his comments to ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers after Sunday's practice. Whatever went down between Quenneville and Stalberg will apparently be put on the back burner long enough for Stalberg to reenter the lineup.
Is he the key to victory Monday? Perhaps not, but Stalberg is capable of getting by Detroit's defense and creating scoring opportunities.
Michal Handzus: Out
Dave Bolland was back up with the second line on Sunday. This could mean Handzus is a scratch for Game 3.
This is a speed issue to me. Handzus just doesn't have it, despite the ability to win draws. Chicago will have to step up in this area. Bolland was 6-of-11 at the dot in Game 2. If he can replicate those numbers and Jonathan Toews returns to form at the circle, this could be a winning move.
Daniel Carcillo: Out; Ben Smith: In
Sending Smith to the fourth line could provide a small boost to the bottom six. He has fresh legs and is capable of playing a headier game that Carbomb.
On one hand, inserting a player who last played in the regular-season finale could be chancy. On the other, Smith has playoff experience and would be a great fit with Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger.
Ray Emery: Still wearing a ball cap
Corey Crawford is the starter no matter what you think of his Game 2 performance. Make no mistake about it, Crawford was left out to dry by some spotty defensive decisions.
Emery certainly is as healthy and well-rested as he can be. That said, he can stay on the bench. If anyone has earned his spot in the crease, it's Crawford.
Andrew Shaw: Out
I believe Shaw will play Monday night. However, if there is anyone who could use a seat upstairs right now, it would be him.
Shaw has committed a few penalties that were poor choices, to say the least. If Quenneville thought benching Stalberg sent some sort of message, making Shaw an observer for a game might do him some good.
Quenneville has a lot of choices he can make in regards to Game 3's lineup. We will see what he elects to do Monday night.
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