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Coaching always plays a significant role in the outcome of each playoff series, especially in a matchup of two experienced bench bosses with prior championship experience like Joel Quenneville and Claude Julien.
The coaching matchup in the Cup Final has been a tale of two games.
Quenneville won Game 1 with the decision to promote talented rookie and Calder Trophy finalist Brandon Saad to the first line just a few shifts into the game. The move paid off, with Saad scoring the Blackhawks first goal of the game. That provided the team with some much-needed confidence and momentum.
In Game 2, the Bruins were awful in the first period and Julien needed to find some line combinations to get some scoring from his bottom-six forwards. He decided to put Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin alongside veteran center Chris Kelly, and the results were impressive.
"We didn't have much going. At one point I thought that line would give us something," said Julien after Game 2 when asked about the Paille, Kelly and Seguin trio.
"They responded well. Got both goals tonight. It's a hunch from a coach. I know that Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered."
After a split in Chicago, Quenneville will need to find ways to get his best forwards away from the Bruins' top defense pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg because Boston has the last change in the next two games as the home team. If he fails to accomplish this goal, the Bruins could go back to the United Center up 3-1 going into Game 5.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Nick was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs, and he is also a credentialed writer at the 2013 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. All quotes obtained firsthand or from NHL media notes.