The Chicago Blackhawks were tied at 2-2 against the Nashville Predators on Friday night, but four unanswered goals ended up costing the Hawks dearly as they dropped a 6-2 decision at Bridgestone Arena and saw their series end up knotted at one game apiece.
With the meltdown in Nashville, it would not be surprising to see the Blackhawks make some changes to their lineup for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. The question becomes this: which players will be inserted into the lineup, and which ones will continue to find themselves on the outside looking in?
With that in mind, we will take a look at some of the players who could find themselves put into the lineup for the game, and which ones will find themselves relegated to the press box.
With the Blackhawks’ defensive breakdowns over the last two games, it seems likely that at least one of the team’s blue liners will be replaced in the lineup. At this point, it would appear that Kimmo Timonen will be that guy, as he’s played limited shifts and hasn’t looked particularly fast so far in these playoffs, but Michal Rozsival could potentially see himself removed from the lineup, although Joel Quenneville seems very attached to him as a fifth blue liner in the rotation.
The Blackhawks could look to establish a bit more of a physical element to their game, and Desjardins would certainly fit the bill. He had a good end to the season with Chicago, but he’s been replaced in the lineup by Joakim Nordstrom in the first two games of this series. That could change in this one, but Nordstrom could also be replaced by another player if Quenneville chooses to remove him.
If Quenneville opts not to put Cumiskey into the lineup, Rundblad could be the guy to replace Timonen or Rozsival in the bottom pairing. Rundblad saw more ice time with the Blackhawks this season, and even though he struggled in a big way down the stretch, Quenneville could potentially trust him more than Cumiskey at this point.
If there’s any player who has a chance of cracking the lineup Sunday, it could be Vermette. The Blackhawks could look to solidify their defense up the middle of the ice, and Vermette could also add some face-off ability to the mix. If he does come into the lineup, expect him to slot in at either second or third line center, and Andrew Shaw would likely get pushed to the wing on the third or fourth line for the Blackhawks.