Defense again buoys Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- If the Chicago Blackhawks' defense takes off, the last two nights will be a launching point.

For the second consecutive night, the Hawks got offensive contributions from their blue line en route to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames. For the first 15 games of the season, this type of defensive play was sorely missed.

“It’s a part of our game that needs to be there and I think it’s important that we stay on that and help contribute,” Duncan Keith said afterwards. “It’s nice to get points and things like that but the main thing is keeping plays alive and supporting our forwards.”

Keith scored his first goal of the season -- and 250th point of his career -- in his 500th career game. His best buddy and defensive partner, Brent Seabrook, also scored his first of the season.

“I think those guys getting their first goals will help going forward,” Joel Quenneville said. “Nice shot by Seabs. And Duncs, quick shot. … Primarily let’s think about checking and playing well in our own end and the offense comes by doing your job.”

It’s come the last two nights. On Thursday the blue-line accounted for eight points in a win over Columbus, now comes the first two goals in a 4-1 win. It’s as essential to the Hawks as any other part of their game.

“The last two nights they’ve played really well together,” Jonathan Toews said of Keith and Seabrook. “I think it’s just the start for offense for those two guys. We’ve been shooting the puck a little bit more from the point. We need to continue that.”

Keith and Seabrook, thought of together like Toews and Patrick Kane are. Stalwarts, from the Hawks 2010 championship and maybe slowly finding their way back to that form.

“It was nice to get the first one and grab the momentum,” Keith said.

In more ways than one.


• Inexplicably, Ray Emery wasn’t a star of the game. Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp (3 asissts) and Olli Jokinen (one goal) were voted stars by the media.

“We thought he’d be one of the stars of the game,” Toews said. “Definitely thought he deserved it.”

• Sharp’s three helpers give him 10 assists on the year.

Marian Hossa was a beast on the ice, playing 21:20, most among forwards and fourth on the team. He assisted on a Viktor Stalberg goal to seal the game in the third.

• The Hawks won 15 of 22 face-offs in the offensive zone helping their puck possession game immensely.

• Always happy to take a jab at buddy Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews noted his empty net goal.

“Nice goal by Kaner with three seconds left so he’s happy,” Toews quipped.