Stanley Cup Final, Game 3: Blackhawks augment speed, Bruins seek consistency

Jonathan Daniel

The Boston Bruins will gain home-ice advantage in Game 3, which will allow the club to dictate matchups. The Chicago Blackhawks have altered their lineup to increase speed.

With the Stanley Cup Final heading back to Boston, the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks enter Game 3 with an equal standing in the series. Both clubs have manufactured overtime victories, with the most recent favoring the Bruins.

Boston will not be making changes to their lineup on Monday night. With the pairing of Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin generating the entirety of the team's offensive output in Game 2, Claude Julien wisely decided to keep the grouping together.

With home-ice advantage in his corner, the Boston bench boss will be able to dictate matchups over the next two games. It's something he hopes to take advantage of.

"There's no doubt it makes it a little bit easier," Julien said of having last change. "Doesn't mean it's going to happen all the time [speaking of line matching], but it certainly is a lot easier. Joel's a pretty good coach, smart coach. When he senses something, he'll take advantage of it. I had to be extra careful in Chicago with that."

Julien will have to be careful with another of Quenneville's senses in Game 3. The Blackhawks are a team that thrives in the transition game. This is largely credited to the team's speed. This attribute will be augmented on Monday night, as Quenneville has decided to insert forward Viktor Stalberg into the lineup.

"I think we need some speed from him," Chicago's coach said of Stalberg. "I think we need energy. I think that he's a threat off the rush, in zone, defensively responsible."

Stalberg is a skilled skater, who is known for his quick feet. He will be replacing Brandon Bollig in the lineup, who failed to clear the Chicago defensive zone on the final play of overtime in Game 2. Quenneville wouldn't indicate whether the play was his reasoning for the roster move. Instead, he opted to speak about Stalberg's strengths.

"I think Bollig gave us a couple real strong games," Quenneville said. "You can talk about the last play. Certainly you like the predictability of his game. I thought he did a nice job. Viktor, we're just looking for more. I think offensively, defensively, giving us some more in both those areas."

Regardless of the move, Julien is aware that Chicago is a quick team who became quicker. His hope is that the Bruins will continue to dictate play, rather than catering to the Blackhawks.

"From their back end all the way to the front, they're a speed team," Julien said. "The transition is great. They have obviously a lot of good things on that team.

"It's being able to know that. Without us changing our game, trying to be better at it. Physicality is one thing. But when we finish our checks, when we have to finish our checks, I haven't seen our team run out of position just to throw the big check. It's more about if you're there, you finish your check, but we still have to play our game."

Game 3 is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night. The series is tied at one game apiece.

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