Hawks keep penalties to a minimum

“Keep the stick down and the feet moving.”

That point of coaching has been drilled into the Chicago Blackhawks so much lately it’s about the only phrase they utter when asked the secret to staying out of the penalty box.

They did it again on Wednesday, giving the Nashville Predators only two power-play attempts -- both coming after the Hawks built a two goal advantage.

That means the opposition has had just three power-play attempts against the Hawks the past three games.

“We wanted to do it tonight the same way,” Bryan Bickell said. “It’s easy to keep the score down when you don’t give any power plays.”

And it’s easier to play goal. With the possibility of the Nicklas Lidstrom, Drew Doughty, and Shea Weber firing shots over the last three games, Corey Crawford feels very fortunate.

“And your guys aren’t getting as tired when you’re not killing penalties,” Crawford said. “When you’re doing that, it drains guys, when you have to kill a lot throughout the game.”

And that is the other key. Joel Quenneville said as much after wins over Detroit and Los Angeles where the Hawks took one minor penalty combined.

The process continued on Wednesday as Brian Campbell played the most minutes of any Hawk for the third consecutive game. It gives Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook a break.

“Every game is different but when you have a penalty-free game,” Quenneville explained, “I think Soupy [Brian Campbell] can handle more ice time. He’s been a big factor with our team game.”

And as a result, the whole defense has played better.


• Corey Crawford is 10-1-1 over his last 12 starts.

• Bryan Bickell extended a career-high point streak to five games.

Dave Bolland had a goal and assist and has seven points in his last seven games. He won 12 of 17 faceoffs and is 25-of-34 over his last two games.

• The Hawks recorded a season high 39 hits.

• The Hawks are off for the Christmas Holiday until Sunday when they host Columbus.