CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were ineffective as linemates over the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, to the point that Chicago coach Joel Quenneville broke them up in the third period Saturday night. Toews immediately responded with an assist on a perfect feed to Brent Seabrook. Kane finished the game with no shots on goal -- a first for him this postseason and just the third time that's happened to him all year..
The Hawks met today in United Center and Quenneville is clearly leaning toward keeping them apart for Game Three. That would leave Marian Hossa with Kane and Brandon Saad while Kane would be with Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg.
"Splitting them up gives you a little bit more freedom," Quenneville said. "More balance to our offense is why we like to keep them apart but they do like playing with each other."
Kane had three shots on goal in the first period of Game One. He's had none in the last five periods against the tight Tampa defense, largely because the Toews line hasn't been able to get away from Tampa's shutdown pair of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman.
"It's one of those stats that happen every now and then," Kane said here today. "At the same time, I can't just go on the ice and worry about shooting the puck. I have to worry about making the right play. ... and worry about the results from there.
"Coming into the series, a lot of people thought it was going to be run and gun, a lot of goals. There's chances there. There's opportunities. But at the same time, you've got to stay positive and stay patient and not start thinking offense all the time. Maybe make a good defensive play and that helps translate something going into offense."
Quenneville remains coy about the status of the injured Bryan Bickell and on rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who seems like he may make his postseason debut in Game Three. Bickell, who has an undetermined injury that might be a concussion, is a loss because Kane played well on his wing with Bickell creating space for Kane to work.
"'Kaner' is most effective when he has the puck and wants the puck," Quenneville said. "He can do a lot of good things with it. That's why a lot of times they're not together. He's a much better player with the puck.
The Lightning were flying into Chicago early this afternoon and are scheduled to meet the media at their downtown hotel sometime after 5:30 Eastern Time. The big question, obviously, is the status of goaltender Ben Bishop heading into Game Three.
Initially believed to be ill, Bishop left the ice twice during the game and was replaced for good by backup Andrei Vasilevskiy for the final six minutes. Vasilevskiy, a 20-year-old Russian rookie was became the first NHL goalie to get his initial postseason win as a backup in a Cup final game since 1928.