CHICAGO — Joel Quenneville was a magic man Sunday night: Everything he touched turned to goals.
The coach had one of those instinctful, head-shaking, evenings of success shuffling lines for the Chicago Blackhawks, turning around his team and the Stanley Cup Final with line changes that worked out better than he or anyone else could have anticipated.
And taking not a bit of credit for it.
Quenneville shuffled the main Chicago forward lines in Game 5, and could have taken a bow afterwards for a maestro like performance behind the bench.
He moved Patrick Kane and Andrew Ladd to a line centred by Patrick Sharp. Ladd fed Kane for one goal; Sharp scored the sixth Chicago goal.
Quenneville moved Dave Bolland to a line centring Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg. All three scored, with Byfuglien scoring twice, once in the open net.
He moved Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky to a line centred by Jonathan Toews, and while this new first line didn’t do a whole lot of damage, Toews was his normally effective player in just about every other aspect other than scoring.
And the Philadelphia Flyers, with the regular first line playing on three different lines, didn’t have a sense as to which line to check, which one to let roam more freely.
“I thought we had great energy, great pace tonight,” said Quenneville, not personally taking much credit for the 7-4 victory in Game 5. “We had great speed on all our lines. I think there was some balance and we kept it up from start to finish.
The Bolland-Byfuglien-Versteeg line, unexpected in form, contributed nine scoring point for the Blackhawks. The balanced lineup may provide a spurt for the Hawks heading into Game 6 in Philadelphia Wednesday night.
Maybe the crowd had something to do with the jump of the Blackhawks Sunday night and maybe they were just due for a game like this, but the difficulty for the Hawks is trying to find a way to make this carryover to Game 6. Last year, for example, the Detroit Red Wings pounded the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Final and then went out and were beaten in Game 6 and 7.
No doubt, Hossa will remind his Blackhawks teammates about this: He was on the losing Red Wings team a year ago.