Blackhawks' Murphy doing what he can to grow offensive side of his game

  • The Blackhawks' Connor Murphy (5), here celebrating a goal Saturday in a win over Montreal, says he's been trying to improve the offensive side of his game this season.

    The Blackhawks' Connor Murphy (5), here celebrating a goal Saturday in a win over Montreal, says he's been trying to improve the offensive side of his game this season. Associated Press


Every time Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy steps on the ice he has a goal -- and it's rarely with the thought of scoring one.

Murphy knows his role and that's to be a stay-at-home D-man who plays against the opponent's top forwards and limits their opportunities.

Having said that, Murphy is experiencing -- for him, anyway -- an offensive renaissance this season with 4 goals in 42 games.

"I need 16 more," Murphy quipped before the Hawks hosted Vancouver Monday. "Everyone likes 20-goal scorers."

Murphy, whose career high is 6 goals with Arizona in 2015-16, notched that fourth tally in the Hawks' 2-0 victory at Montreal on Saturday. It came in the second period when he decided to take a chance by stepping into an open space in the offensive zone.

When Dylan Strome spotted Murphy on the move, he slid the pass over and Murphy did the rest.

"It's more about finding those low-risk times when you can jump in and not get caught where it might go the other way," Murphy said.

Murphy has done a couple of things to become more of an offensive threat this season, most notably:

• Taking note of how Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith decide to "sneak in" to quiet areas.

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• Watching more video to learn how to play with the puck better.

Said Murphy, who is averaging a career-high 1.6 shots on goal per contest: "It seems like the way the new NHL is that you have to be able to do both -- be able to defend hard, but be able to skate and help have possession. That's kind of the trend. I'm just trying to add parts to my game."

Star bright:

Brendan Perlini, who tied for the league lead with 5 goals, was named the Second Star of the week. Three of those tallies came against Arizona in a 7-1 victory at the United Center March 11.

Perlini has 8 goals in his last eight contests and 13 overall.

"It's nice to see a guy like (Perlini) get hot and have that confidence," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think it's translating to the rest of his game as well."

Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (3-1-0, .959 save percentage, 1.25 GAA) was the No. 1 star, and Oilers forward Connor McDavid (3G, 6A) was the No. 3 star.

Slap shots:

Patrick Kane recorded his 100th point when he assisted on Jonathan Toews' first-period goal during Vancouver's 3-2 overtime win at the United Center on Monday. Kane joins Denis Savard (five times) and Jeremy Roenick (three) as the only Hawks to record 100 points in multiple seasons. ... Corey Crawford had a 61-save streak stopped when Vancouver's Alexander Edler scored 53 seconds into the second period. Crawford, who finished with 31 saves, has stopped 146 of 152 shots over his last five appearances for a .961 save percentage. ... Drake Caggiula, who has missed the last eight games, is working out but remains in concussion protocol. There is no timetable for his return. … John Hayden and Carl Dahlstrom were the Hawks' healthy scratches against Vancouver.

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