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Blackhawks appear to make minor change for Game 1

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The Canadian Press
6/11/2013 1:50:35 PM
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks appear to be making some changes to their lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins.

Coach Joel Quenneville jumbled his forwards at practice Tuesday, including putting Marian Hossa on the top line with Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews.

Brandon Bollig is also expected to replace Viktor Stalberg in the lineup.

Bollig skated in Stalberg's place on the fourth line alongside centre Marcus Kruger and right-winger Michael Frolik.

"They played well together, that line, all year long," Quenneville said. "It could happen."

The 26-year-old left-winger last played in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarter-finals against the Minnesota Wild on May 5.

Stalberg has three assists and a minus-1 rating in 15 playoff games.

The change at the top drops playoff breakout star Bryan Bickell to the second line with Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane. It's perhaps a chance to spread the Blackhawks' top scorers out against Zdeno Chara and the Bruins' defence.

"You still have Toews, Sharp and Hossa on one line," Kane said. "That's a very, very powerful line. I'm with Handzus and Bickell, who have both been playing very well through playoffs."

Bickell did not work on either power-play unit Tuesday. David Bolland is set to resume his role as the checking-line centre.

This is not the first time Quenneville has toyed with things during the Blackhawks' run, and players don't seem to mind the shuffling.

"Joel does a great job of mixing and matching lines," Sharp said. "He's got a great feel for our team. He knows how to run a bench, so as a player I trust Joel knows what he's doing."

The Bruins practised at TD Garden in Boston before flying to Chicago.

Coach Claude Julien did not showcase any changes, and it's likely the Bruins' lineup is the same one that was on the ice at the end of the Eastern Conference final sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game 1 is Wednesday in Chicago.

Brandon Bollig (Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tuesday's Practice Lines

Forwards:
Sharp-Toews-Hossa
Bickell-Handzus-Kane
Saad-Bolland-Shaw
Bollig-Kruger-Frolik
Carcillo-Mayers-Stalberg

Defence:
Keith-Seabrook
Oduya-Hjalmarsson
Leddy-Rozsival

Goal:
Crawford
Emery

Stanley Cup Final Game Notes

team winning game 1 has gone on to win SC 77% of the time
first ever SCF between a #1 seed (CHI) and a #4 seed (BOS)
teams last met in playoffs in 1978 (never met for Stanley Cup)
teams last met in reg season on Oct 15/11
both teams have same HC and Captain's since they won SC, but different starting goalies
only Original 6 teams to have not met in SCF now are CHI/NYR
CHI:
won 7 of their past 8 games, allowing 16G, 24/26 on PK
9-1 at home in playoffs, won 5 straight, allowing 2 or fewer goals in 8 of the games
BOS:
won 5 straight and 9 of past 10, 15/15 on PK over last 4 games
since trailing TOR 4-1 in game 7, they have outscored their opponent 32-12
Rask has won 6 straight at home, 1.44GAA, .952sv%
Rask has only faced CHI once in his career, relief appearance Jan 7/10

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