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Back-to-back games could challenge Blackhawks, Kings

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Corey Crawford vs. Wings.jpgWith the Blackhawks and the Kings coming off Game 7s in their previous series, opening the Western Conference finals with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday will pose a challenge for both teams.

It creates an interesting coaching challenge for Joel Quenneville and Darryl Sutter. Both coaches have deep rosters. But If either is pressed to go all out to win Game 1 today at the United Center, it might have a residual impact on Game 2, which will be played 24 hours later.

''That's a good question. We want to make sure that we're concentrating solely on today's game,'' Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ''I think you go into these games and play the first of two you want to make sure you're using everybody and you want to get all four lines into the game early.

''As the game plays out, sometimes you may change course, but I think you plan on using everybody. Our four-line success all year has been in place. We plan to go that route.''

Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford played both ends of back-to-back games twice this season. He stopped 29-of-30 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Red Wings in the back end of the first one. He allowed two first-period goals and stopped 29-of-31 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Coyotes in the back end of the second set.

Quenneville indicated that Crawford is well rested and ready for the quick turnaround. The Hawks have played seven games in the past 24 days since the end of the opening-round series against the Minnesota Wild.

''He had a couple [of back-to-backs] this year,'' Quenneville said. ''We had ... those extra days in Detroit, there's a lot of time off there. There's time off before starting this series. We'll see.''

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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 Potash published on June 1, 2013 9:43 AM.

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