BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday forward Viktor Stalberg could return to the team’s lineup for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins after being a healthy scratch in the series’ first two games.
Stalberg, who is known for his speed and offensive game, was replaced by forward Brandon Bollig in the series’ first two games. Quenneville said prior to Game 1 he wanted to utilize Bollig’s physical play against the Bruins.
Stalberg has zero goals, three assists and a minus-one rating in 15 playoff games this season. He had nine goals and 14 assists in the regular season.
“He could play [in Game 3],” Quenneville said of Stalberg at TD Garden on Sunday.
Bollig played on the fourth line and had 25 shifts and 14:24 of ice time in Game 1 of the finals. He had three shots on goal, nine hits and a zero plus/minus rating in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 triple-overtime win. In Game 2 on Saturday, Bollig played 14 shifts and logged 8:42 of ice time. He had zero shots on goal, zero hits, two giveaways and a minus-one rating.
On the Bruins’ game-winning goal in Game 2, Bollig was unable to corral a pass from teammate Brent Seabrook along the boards, and the Bruins retrieved the puck and scored moments later.
Quenneville spoke positively of Bollig after Game 2.
“I thought he was fine,” Quenneville said on Saturday. “I thought he had two good games. That [fourth] line, didn't get them out there much in overtime. Every time they were out there, they were a threat to score. Had a lot of offensive zone time. They got the one shift, around the wall, we didn't get there in time. Bang, bang.”
Quenneville also benched Stalberg for two games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals. Daniel Carcillo replaced Stalberg in the two games against the Red Wings. Stalberg returned for Game 3 against the Red Wings and played 10 consecutive games leading up to the Stanley Cup finals.
Stalberg’s playing time in the playoffs has often been less than what he was given in the regular season. He averaged 14:07 of ice time in 47 regular-season games and has played more than 12 minutes just twice in the playoffs. He has played less than 10 minutes in seven of those games.
“I don't know what to do," Stalberg said prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. "You can't get too down, too upset or too frustrated about it. There's two weeks left in the year. We're going to try to win it. It's simple as that. If I'm playing, I'm playing. If I'm not, I'm not. I can't do much about that right now. When I was playing, it felt like I wasn't playing at times when [there's] so little ice time. It is what it is. Obviously, it's frustrating. At the end of the day, it's two more weeks and hopefully [we] have a Cup here. That's all that matters.”