I thought Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made a good move putting Dustin Byfuglien back at forward for his team's Western Conference semifinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.
There was just one problem: Quenneville had Byfuglien skating on the fourth line in Game 1. That made no sense. The purpose of putting Byfuglien back at forward is to allow him to screen Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo and hopefully get some garbage goals. Playing on a line with John Madden and Troy Brouwer in a 5-1 series-opening loss, Byfuglien was a non-factor because the Hawks were rarely in the offensive zone when he was on the ice.
Fast forward to Wednesday night's Game 3: Skating on the top line with big guns Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Byfuglien was a dominating force. He scored three goals, including two on the power play, as the Hawks came away with a 5-2 victory.
With the win, the Hawks take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and recapture home-ice advantage. Game 4 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday in Vancouver.
All five goals the Hawks scored in Game 3 were scored within 10 feet of the net, all from right out in front of Luongo. That's a good sign for the Hawks. They have to get pucks and bodies to the net against this goaltender. The pretty play isn't always there. You have to take what is given in the playoffs, and the Hawks did that quite well in this Game 3 victory.
Byfuglien had his hat trick. Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa also lit the lamp.
And let's not forget goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 31 of 33 shots. Niemi made several key saves in the first period, as the Hawks not only survived Vancouver's first period blitz, they came out of it with a 2-0 lead.
In addition, Vancouver's two big guns, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, were held off the scoresheet in Game 3.
This was a strong road game all the way around for the Hawks. They scored the first goal. They scored twice on the power play. They killed off four Vancouver power plays. They stopped the opposition's big guns. They got excellent goaltending. That's the formula for success. We'll see if the Hawks can come up with a similar effort in Game 4.