When Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville changed the lines before his squad’s 7-4 victory on Sunday, he created a winning combination and a new line of old IceHogs faces.
Former IceHog Dustin Byfuglien entered Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals with just one assist, no goals and a -3 rating. But the forward exploded for a career night Sunday, leading all players with four points (two goals, two assists). And Byfuglien’s power play goal with 4:15 to play in the second period was the game winner, putting the Hawks up 5-2 entering the third period.
But Byfuglien was not the only former IceHogs skater to make a statement for the Blackhawks in Game 5. The Blackhawks’ new-look line composed of Byfuglien, winger Kris Versteeg and center Dave Bolland was made up entirely of former IceHogs. And Versteeg got in on the action Sunday, tallying three points (one goal, two assists).
Once again, former IceHogs goalie Antti Niemi backstopped the Blackhawks in the victory, making him 15-6 in 21 playoff appearances this season.
The Blackhawks now have to wait until Wednesday before they attempt to secure the cup with a Game 6 victory in Philadelphia.
If the statistics have anything to say about it, the Blackhawks will have the upper hand in the Game 6 matchup, as teams winning Game 5 with the series tied 2-2 have won the Stanley Cup 70 percent of the time. Out of 20 teams that won Game 5 of a series tied at two, 14 have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.