Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was encouraged by Trevor van Riemsdyk’s postseason debut in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. With Johnny Oduya suffering an upper body injury, van Riemsdyk could come in more handy than Quenneville ever imagined.
Playing an NHL game for the first time since Nov. 16 and in any hockey game for the first time since March 28, van Riemsdyk had 9:01 of ice time against the Lightning without incident. He was an even plus/minus for the game.
“I was impressed [with] how well he played, his composure,” Quenneville said. “Kind of like the way he came into training came for us.”
Quenneville gained confidence in the 23-year-old van Riemsdyk as Game 3 ensued. Van Riemsdyk had three shifts in each of the first two periods (2:15, 2:21 TOI), but seven in the third (4:25 TOI).
He could get more time in Game 4 if Oduya can’t play. Oduya was limited to 16:47 of ice time because of the injury (he’s averaging 24:45 for the postseason).
Quenneville indicated Oduya would be re-evaluated Wednesday to determine his status. “I think he’ll be all right,” he said.
Bishop update … not
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said in his off-day press conference Tuesday morning that he had not yet seen Ben Bishop, so he had no update on Bishop’s condition or status for Game 4.
Cooper said Bishop’s status is up to the trainers.
“I trust our trainers,” Cooper said. “Before I do the eye test, you got to walk by them. You don’t want guys to play injured.”
Hossa going strong
Though he missed an open net in the first period, Marian Hossa played one of his best games of the postseason and had two assists in 23:56 of ice time.
“He had the puck a lot last night,” Quenneville said. “Had an outstanding chance early. Stayed with it. That line was dangerous at times. But he was very effective [Monday] night. He’ll be ready [Wednesday] night as well.”
That remains to be seen. As great as he is, Hossa has shown vulnerability to high ice-times. In the past two postseasons, when Hossa is coming off a game when he has played 20-plus minutes, he has two points in 11 games (one goal, one assist) and is a minus-8. In all other postseason games in the last two years, he has 28 points in 28 games (five goals, 23 assists) and is a plus-14.
Can’t stand prosperity
The 2-1 series lead could be a challenge for the Lightning as well as the Hawks. The Lighting are 3-4 in the playoffs when they are leading a series — losing 6-2, 2-1, 5-1 and 7-3. The only time they have lost back-to-back games in a series is when they led the Canadiens 3-0 in the second round.
“I truly believe we’ve grown as a team through some of our struggles,” coach Jon Cooper said. “[In Game 3], we’re in a pretty hostile environment. It’s a 1-1 game. We go down in the third. There was no hang the head. It was, ‘OK, now we got to dig the heels in and go get this one.
“That’s what I love about this group. It’s just the never say die. In some of these situations [earlier] in the playoffs, we didn’t have the ability to come back But with every day and every game, this team keeps growing. It’s a lot of fun to be behind the bench with them.”
Ondrej Palat’s goal 13 seconds after Brandon Saad’s tie-breaking goal in the third-period typified the Hawks’ issues in this series. There was no obvious culpability on the play. But it’s one that can’t happen if the Hawks are going to win the series. Palat shoved a rebound past Corey Crawford before Crawford could get his glove on the puck.
“That was an innocent play,” Quenneville said. “We win the faceoff, it doesn’t get behind him, it’s in our net. It wasn’t anything drawn up. It wasn’t fancy. It was just a play, a scramble. But that’s got to be preventable.”