The St. Louis Blues came up short in two one-goal games against the Chicago Blackhawks, and now they’re home and looking at a 2-2 series instead of a chance to close out the defending Stanley Cup champions. That lack of offense has forced head coach Ken Hitchcock to switch up his lines ahead of Game Five.
In practice today, Hitchcock sought to add a more balanced look to his lineup. He spoke to Louie Korac of NHL.com ahead of Game Five, and had this to say about the choice to shuffle the lines:
I just think that depth is going to persevere in this series and we need to play with more depth. So spread it out a little bit. We’ve had success doing that. I think one of the things we’re looking for is to have two third lines, and by balancing the way we did it [Friday] it’s going to allow us to have two third lines. If we split those minutes, it’s going to give us more tempo early and not wear us down as much.
Based on the lines that Hitchcock used at practice, the Blues will roll out the following lines to start Game Five, as per Korac’s report:
The bench boss also added that he won’t hesitate to make changes in game like he did during Game Four. He’s looking for a quick start out of these particular trios, and if he doesn’t get it then we could see even more juggling. For instance, Steve Ott could end up on the top line again, while Derek Roy could struggle with second line duty.
Regardless, Game Five is shaping up to be an outstanding Chess match between two great teams.