CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t toyed with his top line much since the first month of the season.
Quenneville found a winning recipe in the line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and stuck with it. But after a Hossa injury on Saturday and some recent lack of scoring, Quenneville went back to the drawing board and unveiled three new lines in practice on Wednesday.
The top line consisted of Brandon Saad, Toews and Andrew Shaw. The second line was Sharp, Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane. The third line was Bryan Bickell, Peter Regin and Kris Versteeg. The fourth line remained the same with Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith.
Quenneville was optimistic the changes would improve an offense that has produced more than two goals in just two of their last seven games since Feb. 1. One of those games was their 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field.
“We haven’t scored many goals in the last games,” Quenneville said after practice at the United Center on Wednesday. “You take away the Pittsburgh game we basically had three goals in three games.
“I like to measure our team’s wins and losses. I don’t mind what we’re giving up. Usually that’s the most important criteria, but we should be generating a little more. Maybe that split, making a few changes, maybe ignites some offense for us.”
Kane was also hopeful his game would be helped by being reunited with Sharp. The duo played most of last season together. Kane has four points in his last seven games and is sixth in the NHL with 64 points.
“He creates a lot with attention whether it’s with his shot or getting open,” Kane said of Sharp. “He finds way to get open. Hopefully it’s a good fit.
“Every now and then Joel makes a switch. It hasn’t been a lot this year because we’ve been scoring a lot of goals. Sometimes you go through these lulls, and hopefully a change sparks it.”
Quenneville also thinks Hossa’s injury shouldn’t be enough to derail the team’s offense, which leads the league with 3.33 goals a game.
“I still think there’s enough offense there even with Hoss going down,” Quenneville said. “We should find enough going forward in his absence. With our group, there’s enough offense on any given night. We should be able to find it.”