David Rundblad “could” play and it looks like Kimmo Timonen will sit when the Blackhawks host the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
Coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t come right out and say Rundblad was in tonight, only saying “it could happen.” But Quenneville’s “could” usually means yes. And Rundblad was in the dressing room early, as was Kyle Cumiskey, another sign that the two are playing tonight.
Timonen and Trevor van Riemsdyk were two of the last players to get to the room. Van Riemsdyk was a longshot to play anyway; he only resumed skating on Friday after missing a month and a half with a wrist injury.
“He’s a little short on time right now but that’s what we’re up against,” Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk. “There’s still progress. Every day he’s getting stronger and quicker and more comfortable with the game.”
With Rundblad and Cumiskey, the Blackhawks get younger legs among the defensemen group. Who they’re paired with yet is unknown. Timonen has struggled throughout this postseason, playing limited minutes. It seemed only a matter of time before the Blackhawks made a switch with him but, again, they don’t have a ton of defensive options.
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It’ll be Rundblad’s first game since Game 1 of this series. He had a rough night; two of his errant passes turned into Ducks goals as Anaheim went on to win that game, 4-1. Quenneville said Rundblad has to shake that game off.
“You have to move on, playing the next game, playing the next shift,” he said. “You want to be confident and comfortable.”
Rundblad understands that, with this second chance, he has to be better than his postseason debut.
“Small things: be quicker, that’s the biggest key. Move the puck quicker,” Rundblad said. “It’ll help me out a lot if I just do that.”
The Blackhawks know what’s at stake here: if they lose, they stay home. And they know they’ll be in big trouble if they get off to as shoddy a start as they did in Game 5 in Anaheim.
“Well, we have to win obviously, and our guys know it's a great challenge,” Quenneville said. “Every game's been tough. Every game's been on the line. I don't think their play should influence our approach knowing we have to be our best tonight. Give them credit for how they played, but I still think the games have been all even. One overtime goal separates us.”