Stanley Cup Finals: Coaches making right moves

2013-06-22T00:00:00Z Stanley Cup Finals: Coaches making right movesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CHICAGO - They keep tinkering, each of them, looking for any advantage they can find.

Claude Julien made a line change in Game 2 that led to a victory for the Boston Bruins. A couple of subtle adjustments by Joel Quenneville helped the Chicago Blackhawks get a big win in Game 4.

Back and forth it goes. While the Bruins and Blackhawks compete on the ice, two former NHL defensemen are trying to become the 14th coach with at least two Stanley Cup titles.

"They've got a role to play, just like we do as players," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said Friday. "Ultimately it's going to be decided on the ice, but our coaching staff, the Bruins as well, they have a lot to say with what goes on."

They've already had an impact. And the next move, along with the response from the other bench, could be a deciding factor in who wins this tight series between two of the NHL's most beloved franchises.

The Blackhawks' 6-5 overtime victory in Boston on Wednesday night made it a split of the first four games. The series resumes tonight in Chicago, with the rest of league's coaching fraternity enjoying the chess match between two of its most accomplished members.

"What has been fun to watch is, neither guy is hoping for chemistry to develop," St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They're not sitting on a combination. They're moving guys around to try to find something, and their proactive approaches have been one of the great things about the series."

Quenneville's team appeared to be in trouble heading into Game 4. The Bruins controlled the last part of a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2, stealing home-ice advantage from Chicago, and shut down the Blackhawks in a 2-0 victory Monday night that put Boston up 2-1 in the finals.

Looking for an offensive spark, Quenneville put captain Jonathan Toews back on the same line with Patrick Kane ahead of Game 4. Toews responded with his second goal of the playoffs, and Kane had a goal and an assist.

Shortly after the series-tying victory, Quenneville still managed to poke fun at himself when asked about putting Toews and Kane together again.

"Maybe it looks like I didn't know what I was doing," he said.

The Bruins were struggling on the second night of the series when Julien put Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin together on the same line, and they were responsible for both of Boston's goals in a victory that gave the Bruins a split of the first two games in Chicago.

"It's about little tweaks here and there," Boston center Patrice Bergeron said, "and the whole coaching staff is good at that."

TV Today

• What: Bruins at Blackhawks, series tied 2-2

• When: 5 p.m. on Channel 4

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