Quenneville is so impressed with Van Riemsdyk — and maybe so little impressed with his fifth and sixth defensemen — that he said Wednesday there’s a “very good chance” Van Riemsdyk will play against the
Quenneville, speaking after his team’s morning skate, said Van Riemsdyk wouldn’t play Wednesday but was “real close” to being a consideration. Quenneville has given heavy minutes to his top four — Duncan Keith (31:35),
"We saw first-hand what he was able to do when he came into training camp. Surprised us all how well he played, how effective and efficient he is," Quenneville said. "We've been skating him in practice every day. One of his strengths is his reads, [he's] positionally aware, decision-making with the puck. He's got a lot of attributes that can help our team.
"I think he came onto the scene rather fast for us. I think we have a lot of confidence and trust in him."
Quenneville also said he hadn’t decided whether to keep center
"Tough to forecast long-term on that. Last two games, they were so good together, it's tough to get them apart now," Quenneville said. "We'll see how the game goes matchup-wise. Certainly have some balance if you get them apart. Together, pretty dynamic the last two games. We'll visit that, how the games are going, how the matchup is."
The matchups could be complicated by the fact the Lightning usually deploys 11 forwards and seven defensemen rather than 12 forwards and six defensemen. But Blackhawks forward
"It just means you've got to try to wear down more defensemen and make sure we're getting pucks behind them to tire them out," he said. "And for the 11 forwards, it's going to be tough. Those guys are going to be double-shifted and you've got to play hard on them, as well."
"We've played some good teams. It's tough to get out of our division," he said. "Nashville, it's a while ago, but that was a really tough series. Triple-overtime, double-overtime wins. That was really fast. Anaheim was really fast. I think we've played some fast teams. I know this team is fast so I think we're ready. Our team likes to play fast, too, so I think we're ready for that.
"I don't think, the natural ability to score, we've seen, where they can turn something into nothing, I don't think we've seen that in the playoffs. Or we've done a good job shutting it down. Hopefully it's the latter and we can do that here."