BOSTON — The only lineup change heading into Game 3 will be on the Chicago Blackhawks roster. Head coach Joel Quenneville will insert Viktor Stalberg back on to Chicago’s fourth line, with Brandon Bollig coming out.
It’s the classic playoff decision: Does Chicago trade Bollig’s heft and muscle for Stalberg’s speed and skill?
“You can measure it either way,” said Quenneville. “(Speed) is a great asset of (Stalberg’s), but using it the right way is important. It gives (Boston) something to contend with.”
“I don’t think I’m the guy who’s going to lay people out out there,” Stalberg said. “But part of the game is to … stress them to make mistakes out there, so that’s what I’ll do.”
Stalberg fell out of the Hawks lineup in this final, after having played 15 of the 17 games through three rounds. As captain, Jonathan Toews made sure to have a chat with Stalberg, as he enters the lineup for a pivotal Game 3.
Toews told Stalberg, “that the boys support him and want him out there with us,” Toews said. “He should have all the confidence in the world that he can go out there and make something happen for us. It’s not always an easy thing when you’ve been sitting out a few games, but he’s sacrificed a lot for this team, and his teammates are very aware of that.”
The biggest benefit of having home ice advantage for Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien will almost certainly be getting the last line change.
During the opening two games of the Stanley Cup final, he was only able to get his fourth unit out infrequently against Chicago because he didn’t want them to get caught in a head-to-head matchup with any of the Blackhawks’ top players.
Julien prefers to roll four lines, and hopes to use Shawn Thornton, Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins more often in Game 3.
“There’s no doubt it makes it a little bit easier,” said Julien. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen all the time, but it certainly is a lot easier. Joel’s a pretty good coach, a smart coach.
“When he senses something, he’ll take advantage of it.”
With the Stanley Cup final shifting to Boston, it gave the Bruins plenty of chance to reminisce about the three games they won against Vancouver here on the way to a championship in 2011.
Spurred on by the crowd at TD Garden, Boston exerted its will in those games and won all three by a combined score of 17-3.
“It was crazy,” said defenceman Dennis Seidenberg. “They pushed us unbelievably. It’s just a lot of fun playing in front of our fans. It’s hard to describe.”
Toews was asked about how the Bruins took over that series, and didn’t think it had any bearing two years later.
“I don’t think it’s fair to compare what they’ve done to other teams (to his Blackhawks),” Toews said. “We’re not (Vancouver). We’re ready to go. We’re ready to give the best we have all year. We want to take control of this series, and there’s no reason we can’t do it on the road.”
Once upon a time, Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference and Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa were fighting for a championship together.
That pursuit ended on a happy note with the Portland Winterhawks winning the 1998 Memorial Cup. It remains a good memory, although not one that they’ve discussed as opponents in the Stanley Cup final.
“We haven’t chatted about it or anything like that,” said Ference. “But obviously it’s one of the highlights of the hockey career for sure -- I’m sure for both of us. It’s a pretty neat way to get a real championship under our belt.
“It was a special time.”
• The Bruins are 12-1 in Game 3’s under coach Claude Julien –- and they are a perfect 5-0 in that situation at TD Garden.
• Boston has killed 22 straight penalties dating back to their second-round series against the New York Rangers. However, the Blackhawks have the league’s top penalty kill in the post-season at 93.6 per cent.
• The last team to win Game 3 of a Stanley Cup final on the road? Detroit over Carolina in 2002.