Defensemen drive Blackhawks’ Game 2 victory
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com June 2, 2013 11:00PM
Updated: June 3, 2013 12:23AM
Brent Seabrook should just keep shooting.
‘‘Yeah,’’ teammate Patrick Kane said. ‘‘He’s got a hard shot. Anytime he gets pucks to the net, it’s going to create havoc, whether it’s a rebound or a goal like he had [Sunday night]. We’re always telling him to tee it up and let those bombs go because he puts his weight into it, and it’s a hard shot.’’
The 6-3, 220-pound Seabrook fired a slap shot from the right faceoff circle past Jonathan Quick with 51 seconds left in the first period to help ignite the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
Seabrook’s goal was the latest contribution from a rejuvenated defensive corps that has played a key role in the Hawks’ rebound from a 3-1 series deficit to the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-0 lead over the Kings.
With the game scoreless, Nick Leddy kept the puck in the Hawks’ offensive zone, which led to Andrew Shaw’s goal that gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. In Game 1, shots on goal by Johnny Oduya and Duncan Keith turned into goals by Patrick Sharp on a rebound and Marian Hossa on a deflection.
After getting outplayed in the first four games of the Red Wings series, the Hawks’ defensemen have improved significantly at both ends.
‘‘I think we’ve been active all year,’’ Keith said. ‘‘It’s part of what we do.’’
But it has been more noticeable in the last four games — since Seabrook scored the series-winning goal against the Wings after Niklas Hjalmarsson’s tiebreaking goal was overturned. With a plus-2 in Game 2, Seabrook is a plus-4 in his last four games. He was a minus-7 in his previous five.
‘‘We stress that, for our defensemen to get up in the play,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Pretty much every team in the league these days is so good at backchecking and taking the third guy, the second wave is usually where the offense comes . . . which is usually the defensemen. It’s big for them to jump up.’’