Nick Leddy will be in the lineup for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final and, according to his head coach, he’s actually going to play.
That’s what Joel Quenneville told reporters on Friday, saying the 22-year-old blueliner will be back in the mix after playing just four shifts for 2:37 of ice time in a Game 4 OT win against the Bruins.
“I think we expect Nick to get back to playing more in tomorrow’s game,” Quenneville explained. “I think as the game progressed last game, not getting him out there against the match-up that we were looking for was there, too. Then late in the game we didn’t go there.
“I thought the five guys in our rotation were getting the job done.”
Leddy went into Game 4 averaging around 16 minutes per game this postseason, down from 17-plus in the regular season.
He has struggled at times, especially offensively (zero goals, two assists) and his minus-7 rating likely wasn’t helping matters.
It was interesting to hear Quenneville speak about his confidence in a five-man rotation, because Leddy’s benching in Game 4 put an increased load on Chicago’s blueline.
Michal Rozsival, Johnny Oduya, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith all played over 25 minutes each — coincidentally or not, the ‘Hawks allowed five goals in a game for the first time this postseason — and some thought the ‘Hawks may go to veteran Sheldon Brookbank as Leddy’s potential replacement for Saturday.
Brookbank, 32, filled in for Keith during his one-game suspension in the Western Conference finals. That said, Brookbank only played 6:50 and finished a minus-2 in the contest, and hasn’t drawn back into the lineup since.
Overall, Quenneville committed to Leddy but stressed the young defensemen needs to do more offensively.
“He brings a nice guy from our back end that can move the puck and defend and do what we need him to do to get involved in the attack,” Quenneville said. “We’ll look forward to getting him more involved.”