Blackhawks Search for Spark

Coach Quenneville shuffles lines after Tuesday's loss to the Nashville Predators.

By Peggy Kusinski
|  Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010  |  Updated 7:46 PM CDT
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The Blackhawks may be a bit down, but they are certainly not out of their series with Nashville.  In an effort to stem the tide, linemates are changing and everyone is looking for a solution.

The Blackhawks may be a bit down, but they are certainly not out of their series with Nashville. In an effort to stem the tide, linemates are changing and everyone is looking for a solution.

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Tired of seeing Nashville set the tone at home and control the puck throughout the game, Coach Joel Quenneville went back to the kitchen after Tuesday night's Game Three loss to the Predators and started mixing and matching his lines.

Hoping to provide a spark under their $62 million dollar man, Quenneville had Marion Hossa skating with Tomas Kopecky who scored the lone Blackhawks goal in Game 3, along with Patrick Sharp who also has been shutout of the scoring column.

Marian Hossa agreed that those with the biggest paychecks should be contributing more in the biggest games. 

"We are not productive and the bottom line is I have to step up, make something happen," he said.

Changes didn't stop there.

On the second line was Bryan Bickell, recalled from Rockford April 7,  with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. 

"At the start of the year I played with them for three, four games, I guess Q likes it, just to stir it up see how it goes," Bickell explained of the change.

Quenneville said it's all about simplifying and thinks Bickell might do that. 

"He gives you some size, some speed, he's got some decent hands, a nice shot as well, I think he can get some energy out as well," the coach said.

As for the Predators setting the tone, anyone in Bridgestone Arena could smell their confidence building with every hit -- including Francis Bouillon's mauling hit on Collin Fraser in the first period. 

Adam Burish can provide the energy and mix it up, which explains why he was skating on the fourth line at practice Wednesday.

"You could sense their energy, and the way they were taking it to us and they were hitting us it's tough to try to stop that momentum we got to find ways to do that," said Burish.  "Whether its a big hit getting to the net [or] whether its running the goalie over, I don't care, something to stop that momentum."

There is one more change that may be coming: Brian Campbell's early return from the rib and clavicle he broke March 14.  Could he be back for Game 4 Thursday night?

"We'll see," is all Quenneville would say.

Trailing two games to one in the best of seven series, the Blackhawks aren't panicking... yet.   

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