The Blackhawks keep getting key contributions from their defensemen.
Brent Seabrook had a goal and assist in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Los Angeles, and Duncan Keith had 2 assists.
“We want our defense to be active in the play and involved, be it off the rush or at the points,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think they’ve been shooting more and sometimes they start to go in for you.”
It was Keith who was directly responsible for the first 2 goals, setting up Seabrook with a terrific slap pass. On Jonathan Toews’ rebound goal, it was Keith’s hard slap shot that goalie Jonathan Quick couldn’t handle.
“We’re trying to be involved and I think our forwards are doing a good job of finding us as well,” Keith said. “Our job is to play defense first and foremost, but obviously when you can help contribute it makes it that much easier for our forwards and it’s good for our overall team game.”
Seabrook’s goal was the sixth by a Hawks defenseman this season.
“We can’t rely on our forwards every night to score goals,” Seabrook said. “We’ve got good defensemen that can make plays, so we’ve got to help when we can and get shots through and try to force some rebounds or whatever. We’ve got to help out in that area, too.”
After getting 21 shots in the second period, the Hawks had just 5 in the third and watched a 3-0 lead shrink to 3-2.
The Hawks were short-handed four times in the final 20 minutes.
“We don’t want to let them get back into it like that, but they scored on the power play right away and that give them some life,” Duncan Keith said. “But give them credit, they came out hard there in the third and we were just trying to hang on.
“We don’t talk about changing our game. We’re trying to play hard, but when you’re up 3-0 or down 3-0 they have all the incentive just to push it and try and press things. I thought 5-on-5 we were fine; we just took some penalties.”
Marian Hossa, who started so well with 5 goals in the first four games, has gone six games without a goal and has just 1 in the last 11.
But Joel Quenneville isn’t worried about his star winger.
“Game in and game out that (first) line generates a lot,” Quenneville said. “They’ve had some great chances the last couple games and have nothing to show for it.
“I’m sure if (Hossa) gets the same kind of quality or quantity of chances, eventually they’re going to go in. I know (Brandon) Saad had the same kind of stretch where you do everything right and you’re not getting production. At the same time, I like the contribution to the team game.”
Hossa is plus-6 for the season and had 3 take-aways against the Kings.
Corey Crawford missed his second straight game with a suspected concussion.
“Corey is fine,” said Joel Quenneville, who added Crawford has yet to skate since Thursday. “I don’t foresee any (long-term concerns).”
Ray Emery started again Sunday and ran his record to 5-0 with a win over the Kings.
“Game in and game out our goaltending has given us a chance to win and keeps getting us points,” Quenneville said.
The Hawks will have another day off Monday before they host Vancouver on Tuesday.
“We feel managing our rest and keeping energy for our games is going to be important as we go along,” Joel Quenneville said. “This is not like any other season we’ve seen. Days off are important to monitor as well.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.