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Sunday, May 19, 2013
Viktor Stalberg 'likely' for Game 3

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg likely will play in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings after being a healthy scratch in the first two games, coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday.

Stalberg practiced with the third line during Sunday's practice at the United Center. He was taken out of the lineup for the series' first two games after playing in 47-of-48 regular-season games and in all five of the team's first-round playoff contests. He had nine goals and 14 assists in the regular season and one assist against the Minnesota Wild in the first round.

After Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Red Wings in Chicago, which evened the series at 1-1 with Game 3 coming up in Detroit on Monday, Quenneville is thinking that Stalberg's speed could give the Blackhawks a boost.

"I think that's one of his strengths -- his quickness and his speed, be it off the rush, loosening up coverage, going wide on D, maybe getting some entries on his own," Quenneville said. "I thought he improved his play this year. When we talk about [the] decision not to play [him], we had a tough decision with [Dave Bolland] coming back in. Nice to see [Stalberg] back in there [at practice] with the option, and that [third] line playing together, which has been fairly consistent and pretty effective for most of the year. I think we can use his speed."

Bolland, who skated in Stalberg's place on the third line in the first two games, skated with the second line in practice on Sunday. Bolland was often with the second line when healthy during the regular season.

Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus and defenseman Johnny Oduya missed Sunday's practice, but Quenneville said they're fine.

Stalberg said Sunday he was unsure whether he'd play on Monday, but he was eager to contribute again if given the opportunity.

"Not to make too much of a big deal out of it ... just I want to get back and playing," Stalberg said. "Hopefully, that's [Monday,] but we'll see what happens. If I get a chance to play, I'll do everything I can to make a difference and help us win those games.

"I think you keep playing the same way you have all year. I think it's been effective. If we get to play together then, we've been effective all year. Don't want to change too much, but get back at it and work hard and try to do as much as I can."

Quenneville said he realized it was a difficult situation for Stalberg to sit out games.

"It's always tough; you're used to playing," Quenneville said. "He's not used to or accustomed to sitting, but I thought he handled it well. In practices, you can see things. But I think the attitude is he did what he had to do to keep himself ready, a couple of strong skates and put yourself in a position where you're ready to help us. We expect him to be ready as well."