- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville isn’t one to single out players when things aren’t going well. So what he said in advance of Game 2 between the Hawks and the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday morning was fairly typical.
“We have to be better than we were the first game,” he said. “We’re expecting contributions across the board from all the lines. I think individually we can get a little more in that area as well and do whatever we can and leave it on the ice tonight.
“A little bit more from everyone up front, you can mention names ---I don’t want to mention names -- collectively we can be much more tenacious.”
Even as he spread blame collectively, it’s fair to assume Qunneville is expecting certain players to rise to the occasion Saturday.
There seemed to be a clear line between who was having a good night and just an average or below average evening in a Game 1, 3-2 overtime loss on Thursday.
Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw were probably two of the better forwards. Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland weren’t bad either and Brent Seabrook was great on defense, but a host of others can play better. It starts with taking care of the puck.
“We know what mistakes we made last game and we’re ready to make changes for this game,” Toews said. “For the most part I think it’s just simplifying things and relaxing. We know it’s going to be a fast paced game and we want to bring that energy and fast skating game. But it doesn’t mean we have to try too much or do too much with the puck.”
In other words, while moving up and down the ice quickly, don’t forget about managing the puck. It’s been a theme since the Game 1 loss.
Between games Quenneville hinted at lineup changes, but didn’t show his hand during Saturday morning’s game day skate. One change could have Sami Lepisto in the lineup for Sean O’Donnell.
Just as important is what Quenneville does with the line combinations. All in all the scoring chances were there for his four lines, so he might not change anything. A last minute jumbling, however, could produce a late matchup problem for Phoenix coach Dave Tippett.
It’s always possible Patrick Kane is moved back to center from left wing, which means the four star forwards the Hawks employ would be split up on two lines. If there are changes, expect Quenneville not to reveal them until game time even disguising his line combinations during warm-ups. This is the playoffs after all.
• Coyotes’ coach Dave Tippett said Saturday Radim Vrbata will play in Game 2. He left Game 1 after injuring his shoulder after a hit by Andrew Shaw early in the contest.
Joel Quenneville expects the Hawks to rise to the occasion in Game 2.