Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bluenotes: Hitchcock Wants to Use Four Lines

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bluenotes: Hitchcock Wants to Use Four Lines

Article excerpt

In the Blues' 4-3 overtime victory over Dallas in Game 2, in which the club surrendered a two-goal lead in the third period, Ken Hitchcock relied on just three forward lines.

Kyle Brodziak and Ryan Reaves each saw less than 6 minutes of even-strength ice time Sunday. Scottie Upshall, who moved up and down the lineup, played just over eight minutes.

The plan was for that group to be more involved in Game 3 against Dallas on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.

"We've got to play them more, that's on me," Hitchcock said. "The energy in the games is so high and so extended that it just isn't a three-line game. There's just so much exertion. I've never seen two teams put such a commitment into checking and hounding the puck as I've seen in the first two games. Both teams are on full alert as far as doing the hard stuff, checking-wise. You're going to have to play your roster deep."

Reaves, who replaced Steve Ott for Game 2, had five hits in his limited ice time. He remained in the lineup for Game 3.

"He's a guy that brings a lot of intimidation on the ice when he's out there," Brodziak said. "It's big when he goes into that battle and no one really wants to get engaged with him."

While playing physical is important for that line, Hitchcock noted that it's more beneficial if it's around the play.

"You can go for big hits all you want, but if they walk out with the puck and absorb the hit, you're not going doing yourself any good," Hitchcock said. "The part I liked about the fourth line (in Game 2) was they were physical, but they were physical at the puck, which is way more important than just hitting somebody who's already moved the puck. I liked the part that they controlled the boards, they held the puck in, they did good things and that's what we need, to put them on the ice a little bit more."

LEHTONEN OR NIEMI?

Dallas chose Antti Niemi as its starting goalie for Game 3, after attempting to keep everyone guessing Tuesday morning. …

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