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Confident Blackhawks don't play the match game against Wild

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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has been saying all season that he feels all four of his lines can compete against anyone's top line on either end of the ice. And he showed that in Game 1 by rarely exploiting the home team's advantage of having the last line change after a stoppage. All four lines -- from Jonathan Toews' top line to Marcus Kruger's fourth line -- saw action against the Wild's top line of Mikko Koivu between Zack Parise and Charlie Coyle.

"Seems like Q didn't match as much," Marian Hossa said. "Seems like he put all four lines against their top players, so that's how much confidence he's got in this team."

Wild coach Mike Yeo, meanwhile, had star defenseman Ryan Suter on the ice for a franchise-record 41 minutes, nearly every time Toews' line or Patrick Kane's line was out there.

"He was always out there," Hossa said. "Seems like it's going to be like that and we have to find a way to go around him, and try to make those minutes feel longer for him."


Fast start wanted

The Wild have nine players participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time, but the Hawks looked like the team with a little stage fright Tuesday. They're hoping they can return to their regular-season groove Friday.

''We want to make sure we start quicker,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We want to play a faster game. We got better as the game progressed, but we want to make sure we're at the same pace at the start as at the finish.''


Block party
The Wild blocked a whopping 21 shots in Game 1, including a combined 10 against Hossa and Patrick Kane. Quenneville said that's an area in which the Hawks can improve for Game 2.

"They blocked a lot of shots and I think we can be more efficient in that area as a team," he said. "You don't always have to look for the perfect shot, maybe second and third opportunities will be better for us all."


Injury update
Quenneville ruled out both Dave Bolland (groin) and Ray Emery (lower body) for Game 2. Emery briefly took the ice on Thursday, however, and Quenneville said both are "likely" to travel to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4.

For the Wild, forward Jason Pominville (concussion) is out for Game 2, while goaltender Niklas Backstrom (lower body) and defenseman Clayton Stoner (hurt by an Andrew Shaw hit in the first period go Game 1) also missed Thursday's practice. Backstrom and Stoner both were expected to make the trip to Chicago for Game 2, though.

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Wild win game two 3-2

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Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on May 3, 2013 9:09 AM.

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