CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is going back to what worked.
After removing Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette from the lineup and replacing them with Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, Quenneville has decided to return Teravainen and Vermette to the lineup for Game 4 on Saturday.
Teravainen and Vermette rejoined Patrick Sharp on the Blackhawks’ third line during the team’s morning skate at the United Center on Saturday.
“There are some good stretches there in Game 2,” Quenneville said. “I think that line can be a factor offensively. I think defensively they've been reliable in stretches, as well. Just some pace and energy across the board. That four-line rotation that we felt was best in Game 2 is what we're looking for.”
Vermette said Friday he didn’t believe he deserved to be taken out of the lineup after Game 2.
“Obviously I thought I had a good game,” Vermette said. “I was playing well there. So, obviously it came as a surprise and a disappointment. I’m not going to lie. I was not happy with that, but my job is to be ready whenever I have a chance to be in the lineup, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Teravainen was more understanding.
“Of course, I want to play every time, but sometimes I’m not,” Teravainen said Friday. “It happens. ... Yeah, never know, never know what happens. I have to always be ready to go out there. But sometimes maybe I’m not going. We have a lot of depth in our team and sometimes I’m not in.”
Quenneville went away from rolling four lines during Game 3. Nordstrom played 51 seconds in the third period and his fourth-line linemates Marcus Kruger and Andrew Desjardins played a total of seven shifts in the period. The fourth line was on the ice for the Ducks' lone even-strength goal.
The Blackhawks’ fourth line had been one of the reasons for the Blackhawks’ 3-2 triple-overtime victory in Game 2. The line was made up of Desjardins, Kruger and Andrew Shaw. Kruger scored the game-winning goal, and Shaw, who was on the right wing, had a team-high seven shots on goal.
Shaw was less effective on offense in Game 3 while playing center on the third line and had two shots on goal. He said Friday it was more difficult to produce offensively at center than on the wing.
“You're always last to leave your zone,” Shaw said. “You're playing down low in your end, so it's hard to get on the forecheck. I got to get the legs going, get there as quick as I can, create as much offense as possible.”
Quenneville thought Shaw has played well on the wing and at center.
“He's had some good games on the wall,” Quenneville said. “We talked about this maybe in the prior series, that some guys like them better on the wing, or you like him better at center. I think it's 50/50. I think we like him equally as well. He's comfortable in both areas. I think in the playoffs he raises his level of play. That persistence that you saw out of Shawzy just seems to rise.”