CHICAGO – In a rare glimpse of openness Friday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville provided a scouting report regarding the top two Minnesota Wild goaltenders.
“One’s a righty and [one’s] a lefty,” Quenneville said.
Well, that settles that.
Wild goaltender Josh Harding, who catches with his right hand, started his second consecutive game in place of injured teammate Niklas Backstrom, who catches left. Backstrom took the ice during the Wild’s morning skate but was ruled out because of a lower-body injury that he sustained during pregame warmups in Game 1.
It's possible that Backstrom could return to play in Game 3 on Sunday.
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said the opposing goaltender made little difference. Although some goalies fare better against certain types of shots, Toews said, the main idea was to create traffic in front of the net and block the vision of anybody in net.
“That’s part of our mindset,” said Toews, a six-year veteran. “It doesn’t matter who’s in the net. That’s how you score goals in the playoffs. You have to get some ugly ones.”
Third pair: Quenneville shuffled the Hawks’ defensive pairings during the regular season, matching Duncan Keith with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook with Nick Leddy.
That left Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival to form the third defensive pairing. At times, Sheldon Brookbank joined Oduya on the third pairing.
Quenneville was asked what made the leftover pair so successful.
“Leftovers?” Quenneville said with a grin. “That’s an interesting way of putting it, leftovers. It’s a pretty good leftover pair.
“We felt that the balance was in place and we were getting a little bit of something from all three pairs, and all three pairs [were] able to play against top matchups."
Northern exposure: The Hawks will head north to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday.
In two visits to Minnesota during the regular season, the Hawks went 1-0-1. They lost in a shootout, 3-2, on Jan. 30 and they won in regulation, 1-0, on April 9.
Corey Crawford started in net for the first visit, stopping 23 of 25 shots before the shootout round. Ray Emery started in the second game, stopping all 20 shots he faced.
Hawks bits: Emery and Dave Bolland remained out because of lower-body injuries, and their status is uncertain heading into Game 3. … Brandon Bollig played in his second game of the series while Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers remained on the bench.