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Defense is always the priority for Blackhawks center Dave Bolland. But it has been his offense that has been a big part of the Hawks’ recent resurgence.
The pesky center saw his five-game points streak end Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Hawks’ 4-1 loss. In those five games — including four wins — Bolland had five goals and three assists.
“The puck is coming my way,’’ Bolland said. ‘‘It’s on my stick [and] things are going my way. I don’t know what it is, if it’s my pregame nap or something I’m doing or whatever, but I’m just going to keep on doing it. I came out slow at the start of the season, but the second half is going to be better.”
Bolland has considerable offensive skills, but he found a niche with his defensive play. San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan called him an “elite checking center” earlier in the season.
But when Bolland does produce offensively, the Hawks are a much better and deeper team. After having only one goal and five points in his first 22 games, Bolland has 18 (nine goals, nine assists) in his last 20.
It has taken Bolland some time to adjust to playing with new players, but he has found success with Bryan Bickell and Fernando Pisani.
“All three of us have been doing a great job together,” Bolland said. “The chemistry is clicking.”
Hawks enforcer John Scott had a feeling that he’d be back in the lineup against the Flyers because of his physical presence. Philadelphia has a handful of tough players who agitate and fight.
“They take penalties, and we didn’t want to get sucked into that,” Scott said. “That’s where Jake [ Dowell ] and I have to step up and take the brunt of it for the team. We’ll deal with that, so the other guys can go out and play. Jake and I talked about that before the game. He’ll take [Dan ] Carcillo , and I’ll take [Jody ] Shelley.”
But no one was willing to tangle with the 6-8 Scott.
“Nobody. Shelley. Carcillo. I asked all of them every time we were on the ice,” Scott said. “I don’t know if their coach told them not to do anything. Carcillo, he’s too small for me. He was just being a little [pest] out there.”
Dowell did fight Carcillo, landing a good left to his face before the Flyers tough guy took over.
“I loved it when [Carcillo’s] nose was busted up,” Scott said. “I was so happy. I would love to do it myself, but no takers last night.”
After playing through a lower-body injury Sunday, Jonathan Toews sat out practice Monday, but the Hawks captain will play tonight against the Wild. It’s also unlikely Toews will sit out the All-Star Game.
“I don’t think that’s on the radar,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t think that’s part of the discussion.”