The euphoria of Game 2’s victory has passed. Now, it’s about the Blackhawks trying to fully take advantage of home ice.
There could be a lineup change but it probably won’t be on defense when the Blackhawks face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night. When asked about the lineup, coach Joel Quenneville said, “we’ll see.” He said “status quo” heading into Game 2, when the Blackhawks didn’t change anything.
The Blackhawks had an optional skate on Thursday, so there were no forward lines and defensive pairs. Quenneville wasn’t parting with much info past that, “we’ll see.”
Quenneville did say that he told Kris Versteeg, who’s been a scratch since the Nashville Predators series, that “we expect him in this series.” Will it be tonight? Quenneville said he’s liked how Versteeg has approached the situation.
“He’s had a great week of practicing,” Quenneville said. “He’s not happy; he wants to play in the worst way. He puts himself in the position to be a candidate to get into the lineup. Last game we could have inserted him, but we’ll see.”
Defensively, the Blackhawks should remain the same. Kyle Cumiskey, whose Game 3 outing was his first postseason game since 2010, is expected to play again tonight. The defensemen said he felt better as the game went along on Tuesday.
“The first few shifts, I was nervous. It’s a high-pressure situation, for sure so there’s going to be nerves,” he said. “Playing in overtime that long, you don’t want to make big mistakes. Hopefully I’ll play more confident [tonight].”
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]
For Anaheim, coach Bruce Boudreau is contemplating lineup decisions for Game 3.
“We’ll have a couple of guys take warm-up but we don’t know if we’re putting them in or not yet,” he said.