Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was pumping Nick Leddy’s tires even before the 21-year-old defenseman scored in overtime Sunday to beat Detroit.
Leddy has 5 points in six games and has been more consistent playing on the third paring with Wade Brookbank and Michael Rozsival.
Unfortunately, Rozsival will miss some time with a knee injury he suffered Thursday at Dallas.
“Nick has played good in all games,” Quenneville said. “I think he looks quick, I like him rushing the puck and I think defending he has improved in that area. He has a better stick coming up with some loose pucks. When he starts the rush out of our end he can skate by people. He’s been playing different kind of minutes against different type of guys.”
Leddy scored off a rush against the Red Wings, taking a pass from Viktor Stalberg and putting a shot over goalie Jimmy Howard’s glove.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, one I can’t really describe,” Leddy said.
“Both guys didn’t get a ton of ice time and they both have some speed and quickness,” Quenneville said. “They broke the play up and Viktor made a nice play and it was a great shot (by Leddy). It was nice to see Nick get a game winner, but he’s had a real nice start to the season. I’m very happy with Nick and his contribution.”
Corey Crawford was named the second star of the week by the NHL on Monday.
Crawford won all five of his starts with a 1.78 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
“He’s had a great approach,” Joel Quenneville said. “He looks ready and big in the net. His rebound control is in effect and coming out of his net he looks like he’s putting the puck in the right areas. We’re very happy with the way he has responded to the season.
“When your goalies are on top of their game you like your chances.”
Crawford has the Hawks off to 6-0 start for the first time in team history.
“It feels good. The 12 points feel good too,” Crawford said. “It’s nice to do that, but you have to have a short memory and get ready for the next game. It seems like it’s just been business as usual around here. Every game we’ve brought the same thing and everyone is playing well. No one is taking a night off.”
San Jose’s Patrick Marleau was named the week’s first star with 9 goals and 13 points.
Off to their best start in franchise history, the trick now for the Hawks is to keep the momentum going on a six-game, two-week road trip that starts Wednesday at Minnesota.
“We’ve got six opponents on the road in some real tough buildings,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
“Let’s not look too far ahead, but it’s a tough six-game trek. You look at the conference and it’s like a playoff season, and that’s how it will be approached.”
After facing the Wild, the Hawks go to Vancouver, Calgary, San Jose, Phoenix and Nashville before returning to the United Center on Feb. 12 to play Anaheim.
The Hawks showed some weariness in the third period Sunday. Six games in nine nights — four on the road — finally caught up to them.
“We could have been on our heels a little bit,” Joel Quenneville said. “Detroit is pressing down a goal and they’re coming. You know that everything is coming, the defense is pinching. I think we could have been better, but six in nine could have been a factor.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.