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Steve Montador a slot machine for Blackhawks

Updated: December 16, 2011 8:22AM



The good times just keep rolling for defenseman Steve Montador. Who would have thought that he’d have an essential part in sparking the power play by playing in the slot?

The Blackhawks have four goals on their last 11 power plays, and Montador has scored two of them from between the circles. As a result, the Hawks’ power play improved to 24th in the NHL as of Monday after hitting the bottom.

“I’ll get in trouble if I try and take credit for that,” Jonathan Toews said of Montador being in the slot. “It was a good idea, obviously.”

The Hawks’ power-play units likely will feature different looks as the season goes on, but Montador appears to have no problem navigating the tight area in front of opposing goalies. Coach Joel Quenneville called him a “great addition” Sunday.

“I spend enough time in the ‘D’ zone standing around there, so I guess I should be kind of familiar,” said Montador, who was used similarly when he was with the Florida Panthers.

Toews believes that Montador’s experience as a defenseman has helped him be effective in the slot.

“He does a great job of boxing guys out on the penalty kill in front of our net, so he’s a workhouse,” Toews said. “He’s good at getting himself open when he’s on offense.”

A top star

Toews was named the NHL’s third star for the week ending Sunday. Toews, who has four goals and two assists in the last four games, leads the Hawks with nine goals.

“Really, I don’t think it matters to anybody who is scoring goals on any given night as long as we find a way,” said Toews, who also leads the NHL in faceoff win percentage (61; 221-for-362).

“If we’re getting that production from different guys, it just goes to show we can play a solid team game and we’ll get breaks and things will work for us if we keep working.”



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