suntimes
CHARMING 
Weather Updates

Blackhawks reunion: Kane, Toews, Bickell aligned; Hossa returns

Updated: June 20, 2013 12:14AM



The Blackhawks have scored just one goal in the last two games, but Joel Quenneville will have his whole offensive arsenal at his disposal for tonight’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Boston’s TD Garden.

Marian Hossa skipped the morning skate but is expected to play — ”He’s fine,” Quenneville said. And Quenneville will reunite Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — a line that reignited the Hawks’ offense in Games 4 and 5 against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final — to try to jumpstart the Hawks’ offense.

“We’ve had some success against L.A.,” Toews said. “Whatever the combinations are, we always say we’ve got to find a way to score, find a way to play smart defensively. But tonight I think we have confidence together as a line with Bicks and Kaner that we can make things happen. We were close last game to scoring. We didn’t get on the scoresheet. Obviously that’s not good enough. That will be one of our main goals tonight.”

Hossa, who was a late scratch in Game 3 with an upper-body injury, is expected to skate on the second line with Patrick Sharp and Michal Handzus. Veteran Jamal Mayers, not Ben Smith, skated in Hossa’s spot during the morning skate, and said he’d be ready to go if necessary.

Quenneville always is reluctant to put Kane and Toews on the same line, preferring balance in his lineup — especially against a team with a shutdown defensive duo like Boston’s Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. But down 2-1 in the series and facing a virtual must-win on the road, Quenneville had little choice.

“Sometimes maybe we’re looking to ignite, one line can get going,” Quenneville said. “We don’t really care who scores goals. But if they can get hot or if they can get on the board offensively, that’s what we look for. They’re certainly capable of it. They exited the series on a real high note. Getting back together, hopefully they can continue.”

Bickell — who, like Toews and Kane, has yet to score in the Stanley Cup Final — was excited to get that line back together in a game he described as “the biggest game of our lives.”

“Yeah, it worked good late in the L.A. series,” he said. “We had a couple goals, with Kaner’s hat trick to finish up the series. Hopefully it sparks each other and the team.”

Bickell said the line had good balance and good chemistry.

“{It’s] Tazer’s work ethic and Kaner’s skills, and I think I just got mixed in there just to get something in front of the net, just to give [the other team] a harder time. It works good. I think it worked good last series and hopefully we can carry it on here.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.