The Chicago Blackhawks don’t even know when their second round series against the Minnesota Wild will begin, but the team is already making some interesting decisions ahead of what is sure to be a tough haul against an impressive Wild squad.
For starters (all puns intended), the Blackhawks have already announced that Corey Crawford will be back in goal as the starter for Game 1 of the series. Crawford was benched after giving up six goals in a Game 2 loss to the Nashville Predators, but he was re-inserted into the lineup during Game 6 after Scott Darling gave up three early goals in a game that the Hawks eventually won.
The Blackhawks also made a lineup change among their forwards, as Joel Quenneville removed Kris Versteeg from the mix and inserted Teuvo Teravainen back into the rotation.
Here are the lines that Quenneville put forward in Monday’s practice:
Saad – Toews – Hossa
Bickell – Richards – Kane
Sharp – Vermette – Teravainen
Desjardins – Kruger – Shaw
This lineup is arguably the most well-rounded of the ones that Quenneville has put together in these playoffs. Getting Bryan Bickell onto a line with Patrick Kane and Brad Richards will not only add a physical element to the proceedings, but it will also give Kane some great screens in front of the net to take advantage of.
What’s more, giving Antoine Vermette wingers like Teravainen and Patrick Sharp should help him add some offensive punch to his game, as he’s mostly been a face-off ace so far during the postseason for the Blackhawks.