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Trevor van Riemsdyk, Bryan Bickell return for Chicago in Game 3

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and forward Bryan Bickell returned to the ice for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday.

Both played sparingly in the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Van Riemsdyk replaced David Rundblad, and Bickell replaced Kris Versteeg.

Van Riemsdyk, a 23-year-old rookie, hadn't played in an NHL game since Nov. 16. He was the surprise of training camp and began the season with the Blackhawks after playing last season at the University of New Hampshire. He fractured his left patella during his 18th regular-season game and required surgery. He returned to the ice in February, suffered a right wrist injury with the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate and underwent another surgery in April. He began practicing again May 22.

"If I get the call tonight, I'm going to be ready to go, play my game, keep it simple," van Riemsdyk had said after the team's morning skate Monday at the United Center. "I've had a lot of positive support here in the locker room reminding you it's just a hockey game you've been playing since you're little. Obviously it's a bigger stage, everything going on around it, but once you step on that ice, it's just another hockey game, just play the way you know can.

"I've got a brother [Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk] who's been through this, so he's helping me out. That's definitely been an advantage to have. It's been a fun experience to be part of it this time and not just watching on TV or watching my brother go through it. It's been a lot of fun."

The Lightning now lead the Blackhawks 2-1 in the series.

Bickell confirmed Monday he missed the first two games of the Cup finals because of vertigo. He also sat out the final two periods of Game 7 of the Western Conference finals because of the condition.

"It just comes and goes. Tough bounce at the timing. I feel good tonight to get going," Bickell said.

Bickell entered Monday's game with five assists and averaging 14:49 of ice time in 17 playoff games this season. He led the Blackhawks with 99 hits in the playoffs. He had 16 goals and 27 points in 42 playoff games the previous two seasons.


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