Phil Danault and his wingers, Andrew Desjardins and Teuvo Teravainen, have been around the net a lot lately. But they need to find the back of the net every now and then, too.
And entering Saturday’s game against Anaheim, the Blackhawks’ third line had scored just one goal in the last 15 games.
“It’s never good enough, you know?” Danault said. “We’ve got to get goals, and we have to work even harder. That’s what it shows to me. We’ve been working hard, but it [hasn’t] come. So we’ve got to keep playing the way we are, but be more hungry around the net.”
Well, following two straight lackluster losses, Joel Quenneville shook up the Hawks’ bottom six on Saturday. Dennis Rasmussen joined Danault and Desjardins on the third line, and Teravainen centered Jiri Sekac and Richard Panik on the fourth line. Brandon Mashinter was a healthy scratch.
Still, Quenneville made it clear before the game that he wasn’t particularly upset with the performance of the bottom six lately, who are designed to play a more defensive role, anyway. More than anything, the Hawks just needed a bit of a shakeup.
“I think we monitor them on what they give up more than what they can create,” he said. “They’ve been fine defensively, offensively they’ve been holding their own. I think when things aren’t going as well, it’d be nice if they scored, but … it’s not like we’re displeased with them. You look at their 5-on-5 play, chance-wise, I think they’ve been holding their own.”
Artemi Panarin returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a sickness. Panarin said a regiment of rest and tea with raspberry jam (a traditional Russian remedy) helped.
“He’s been an important player for us right from the outset there; he’s dangerous,” Quenneville said. “He gives that [second] line another threat, and our offense was a little light the last two games.”
Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch for the first time since being called back up in late December. Viktor Svedberg and Michal Rozsival comprised the Hawks’ third pairing.