COLUMBUS, Ohio Its clear what the Blackhawks are looking for in their checking line: stop opponents from scoring first, and get any offense you can on your end.
The Blackhawks latest checking-line group has the potential to work both sides very well.
Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg have formed some chemistry again and it was evident in the Blackhawks 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The trio, which was together earlier this season, has looked comfortable again. And coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw on Thursday.
With Stals speed and Bicks size, its little things that help us out there, Bolland said. Its always helpful having two big guys on your line that have some speed.
They had long cycles in the offensive zone, a lot of puck possession time, Quenneville said. Were not happy about the one goal (they gave up to Carl Hagelin) but they did a lot of good things. They were controlling the play a lot and had the puck a lot. Thats where were looking to be at.
Indeed, the three were playing their best defense on Thursday with the offensive chances they created on the other end. Both Stalberg and Bolland had prime opportunities, something they havent had in a while.
Its a team game, and when we have chances wed like to bury them. But its nice to start getting them again. It seemed like they dried up lately, Stalberg said. We have to take advantage of them and get more comfortable in those areas. If we can keep the puck in their end and cycle, thats going to be better for us.
Bolland said, with Stals speed and Bicks size, its the little things that help us out there. Its always helpful having two big guys on your line that have some speed.
Of the three, Stalbergs adjusting to the checking-line role the most. His first indoctrination came with these two earlier this season and hes embracing the challenge.
Its something I want to learn and want to get better at. Last night was a step in the right direction, said Stalberg.
Yes, we all know Quennevilles propensity for switching line combinations. We also know that when a line shows some chemistry, it gets a chance. This trio should get a decent one.
We compliment each other, all three of us. It seems like were making pretty good plays, playing simple, Stalberg said. If we take care of our end well get our chances. Last night we did. Wed like to bury them but thats going to happen at some point.