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Hawks shuffle lines, split up Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane

Updated: November 20, 2013 6:12AM

After watching the Blackhawks score three goals or fewer in six consecutive games and fail to score in the third period in any of them, coach Joel Quenneville shook up his lines Friday.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who have been playing
together on the top line since the Stanley Cup Final, will be spread over the top two lines — Toews with Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa, Kane with Patrick Sharp and Michal Handzus.

‘‘It gives the other team a lot to be concerned with,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘Who do you want to check?’’

The third line was Marcus Kruger centering Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw, and the fourth line was Brandon Pirri centering Brandon Bollig and Joakim Nordstrom.

‘‘Last game, we were a little
flat, it seemed,’’ Saad said. ‘‘Shaking things up might help.’’

After a shootout loss Thursday to the St. Louis Blues, in which the Hawks generated very little offense (and no goals) in the second and third periods, Quenne-
ville said, ‘‘I don’t like coaching offense.’’ He clarified that Friday, saying he doesn’t want to limit his players’ creative freedom with the talent they have.

‘‘Let them go play,’’ he said. ‘‘That freedom offensively is tough to defend, knowing the opposition doesn’t really know what you’re doing if [they’re] just going on instincts.’’

As for the Hawks themselves, they think it’s only a matter of time before the goals come.

‘‘We don’t see it as a problem,’’ Toews said. ‘‘We’ve got a lot of talent in this locker room, so nothing’s going to change.’’


Twitter: @marklazerus

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