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Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews will play apart

GAME 1

7 p.m. Wednesday

at Hawks, Ch. 5

GAME 2

7 p.m. Saturday

at Hawks, NBCSN

GAME 3

7 p.m. Monday

at Bruins, NBCSN

GAME 4

7 p.m. June 19

at Bruins, Ch. 5

GAME 5 if necessary

7 p.m. June 22

at Hawks, Ch. 5

GAME 6 if necessary

7 p.m. June 24

at Bruins, Ch. 5

GAME 7 if necessary

7 p.m. June 26

at Hawks, Ch. 5

Updated: June 12, 2013 7:03PM



Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville loves to tinker with his lines. But on the high wire of the Stanley Cup Final, he’s working without a net.

The often perfunctory Blackhawks practice provided a few surprises Tuesday. Quenneville split up Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who were so effective in Games 4 and 5 against the Los Angeles Kings.

The top line in practice — and presumably for Game 1 on Wednesday night at the United Center — featured Toews with wingers Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. Kane was on the second line with winger Bryan Bickell and center Michal Handzus. Dave Bolland was moved from the fourth line to the third line, centering for Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

Breaking up Kane and Toews seemed counterintuitive, considering their effectiveness against the Kings. But Quenneville indicated he’s looking for a better matchup against the Bruins’ top two lines.

‘‘It’s balance, and it’s something we’ll look at,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘Sometimes that can evolve over the course of a series. But that [matchup issue] might be one of the reasons.’’

Kane, who scored four goals in five periods since being paired with Toews in Game 4 against the Kings, was unfazed by the move and called it ‘‘a great opportunity’’ to play with Handzus and Bickell.

‘‘It doesn’t affect me too much,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Joel has been known to change the lines around. If you think about that too much, it only goes to your disadvantage.

‘‘I’m not worried about being split from Jonny. I’m still playing with two great players in Handzus and Bickell, and they’ve both been huge parts of the reason for our success in the playoffs. I think it’s a great opportunity for me.’’

The Hawks have learned to trust Quenneville with his chronic line-changing. When he split up Kane and Toews to thwart Chris Pronger in Game 5 of the 2010 Final against the Philadelphia Flyers, it was a stroke of genius. Toews, Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, who had combined for one point playing together in Game 4, combined for seven points playing on separate lines in a 7-4 victory in Game 5. Pronger, first in line for the Conn Smythe Trophy before that game, was on the ice for six goals and in the penalty box for the other.

‘‘Joel does a great job of mixing and matching lines,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘He’s got a great feel for our team. He knows how to run a bench. As a player, I trust that Joel knows what he’s doing, and I don’t really care who I’m out there with.

‘‘I’ve played with every player on our team at least once in the last to years. I feel comfortable, chemistry-wise, with whoever I’m out there with. I have trust in Joel.’’



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