CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville had witnessed many remarkable games by defenseman Duncan Keith since he began coaching him six seasons ago, but the Chicago Blackhawks coach wasn’t sure if any topped what Keith did on Sunday.
In Quenneville’s eyes, Keith put together one of the most impressive all-around performances of his career while helping the Blackhawks to a 5-1 win and eliminating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their first-round series on Sunday. Keith scored once, tallied three assists, had a plus-3 rating, contributed to killing off six penalties and led the team with 25:16 of ice time.
“I thought Duncs had a game,” Quenneville said. “I’ve been around here six years with Duncs -- that might have been the best game I’ve seen him play. I think not just looking at his point production. [It was] his quickness, his patience. He defended well, his gap. He did everything well. He killed penalties for us.
“So, we’re very happy for him the way he played. It was a special night for him.”
One of the first plays to put Keith on his way to his special night occurred on the Blackhawks’ first goal. Blues forward Patrik Berglund attempted to bounce the puck off the boards and get it out of the Blues’ zone in the first period. Keith grabbed the puck out of the air, placed it on the ice and kept the possession alive. Bryan Bickell scored seconds later for the Blackhawks.
Keith saved another puck from getting out of the Blues’ zone in the third period. The puck was nearly over the blue line when Keith stopped it with his stick. He gathered himself, found Jonathan Toews in the right circle and Toews scored in the slot.
“He’s got a lot of Lidstrom in him,” Hitchcock said. “Lidstrom did the same thing. You think you’re out; you’re out all right. You’re out at center ice facing off. He’s good at it.”
Keith later showed off more of his offensive ability and why he was second in points in the regular season among defensemen, with 61. The Blackhawks went ahead 4-1 when Andrew Shaw tipped in a slap shot from Keith. And Keith put the finishing touches on the win by scoring in front of the net on a pass from Shaw at 17:05.
And there was the defensive side of Keith’s game. The Blackhawks held the Blues scoreless on 10 minutes of power play in the win. Keith played 6:26 of short-handed ice time. The Blues also failed to score during his 16:22 of even-strength ice time.
Keith was happy to do his part, but he was happier the Blackhawks were moving onto the second round.
“It feels good,” Keith said. “It was a tough series. Every game was close and, even tonight, you could tell it was a close game for 50 minutes. And then we were able to separate some distance there.
“It felt good to get that momentum, and I think we did a good job of just holding on to it.