Lineup shuffle pays off for Blackhawks

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

CHICAGO — More energy.

More muscle.

Fewer defencemen.

It worked for the Chicago Blackhawks.

After dropping the opener of their playoff series in disappointing fashion, the Blackhawks made an overhaul to the lineup by adding serious size to the forward crew.

Bruise brothers Adam Burish and Ben Eager replaced forward Brian Bickell and defenceman Jordan Hendry for Monday night’s Game 2 at the United Center.

As a result, the Blackhawks had five blueliners racking up the ice time.

“We can handle it,” said Brian Campbell. “All of us have played a lot of minutes before. We feel comfortable with it. It definitely keeps you in the game.”

Brent Sopel was the one blueliner who didn’t hit the 20-minute mark, seeing the ice for 19:09.

Campbell played more than 21 minutes of the 4-2 victory, while Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were close to 25 minutes each and Brent Seabrook came in at 23:38 in a one-goal, three-point, plus-4 outing. He also recorded a game-high eight hits.

“I don’t mind that,” Keith said of the increased ice time. “I think it gets us in the game. Everybody likes playing lots, and we’ve played with each other, so it’s not a hard thing to do.”

The plan was to ice a lineup with more moxie, and Burish and Eager both came through to do their job.

They once sprayed Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo in tandem to draw the ire of the Canucks, and threw their weight around.

Burish even had a second-period breakaway.

“They’re both great guys that really did a lot for us last year in the playoffs,” Campbell said.

“They get guys going.”


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