04/17/2010 3:45 PM - From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
Before Brian Campbell's injury in mid-March, the tandem of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith went together like peanut butter and jelly - or, perhaps more appropriately, thunder and lightning. The defensive duo will be reunited for Sunday's Game Two against the Nashville Predators.
"It's been a while since they've played together," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville following Saturday's practice, "but we know that's a great tandem and they work well together. There might be a couple new pairs as well across the board, but they've all played together at some point throughout the year so there's familiarity there.
"[Niklas Hjalmarsson] is very reliable as well. It doesn't matter whether he plays with Sopes or Buff. As a group of six I'm comfortable with the pairings, and the familiarity of Duncs and Seabs is something we can use to our advantage."
Keith and Byfuglien had been paired together down the stretch and for Game One, with Seabrook and Hjalmarsson rounding out the top four along the blue line.
Quenneville also tinkered with his forward lines a bit at practice but wouldn't commit to those moves for Sunday's game. Left wing Andrew Ladd shifted from the third line to the top line alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, taking Patrick Sharp's spot; Sharp joined Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane in Troy Brouwer's place; and Brouwer moved to the Madden and Versteeg line in place of Ladd.
Everyone stay calm: Andrew Ladd, who is one of only two current Blackhawks to have won a Stanley Cup (John Madden), wasn't about to start seeking out the life boats Saturday following the Game One loss to Nashville. After all, it's just one game.
"You have to [have that mindset]. There's going to be highs and lows throughout the playoffs. It's a long series. It's the first team to win four games, so we're just looking to get back on track tomorrow and go from there."
Ladd said the Predators didn't surprise the Blackhawks with their style of play. The key word for Game Two will be "simplify."
"They're very patient with their system and sticking with it and forcing teams to make mistakes. We have to be smart and make simple plays instead of trying to always make something happen."