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Pahlsson-Ladd-Byfuglien still together
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

The Blackhawks' Adam Burish checks Nashville's Ville Koistinen in the third period Friday night at the United Center.


Associated Press

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Published: 4/3/2009 11:03 PM

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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't mess with a good thing Friday night.

Even with Dave Bolland returning to the lineup, Quenneville kept intact the line of Sammy Pahlsson, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien that played so well in Wednesday's victory over St. Louis.

The line of Bolland, Ladd and Martin Havlat were together most of the season drawing all the tough defensive assignments.

"Sometimes you change things up on a need basis," Quenneville said.

Havlat, Jonathan Toews and Patrick were together for the second game in a row.

"They immediately seemed to feed off each other," Quenneville said. "They're a threat. There's production there. We just want to make sure they're responsible defensively like any line. The upside is there."

Bolland centered for Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg, although they didn't stay together long with Sharp leaving with an injury in the first period.

Pahlsson, who scored his second goal in as many games in the first period against Nashville, isn't sure which linemates he will have in the playoffs.

"He (Quenneville) hasn't said anything," Pahlsson said. "I don't think he's said anything to anyone yet."

Good company: In its annual rankings, The Hockey News has named Dale Tallon the NHL's 11th-best general manager.

"As the Blackhawks close in on their first playoff berth in six seasons, they're doing it because of the steady hand Tallon has provided," wrote the Hockey News' editors. "He committed to building with youth and has been rewarded for his patience."

The publication credited Tallon with making the decisions to acquire Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Sharp and for drafting Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook.

Detroit's Ken Holland was ranked first.

Moving on: Right wing Akim Aliu, considered one of the Hawks' top prospects, has been assigned to Rockford.

Aliu's junior hockey season has concluded. The 19-year-old had 18 goals and 26 assists in 45 games with the London Knights and the Sudbury Wolves.

Tip-ins: Winger Troy Brouwer, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, skated Friday, with the next step before returning being his participation in contact drills. - Defenseman Aaron Johnson was a healthy scratch.