Duncan Keith held the puck in at the blue line and passed it to his returning partner, Brent Seabrook. One shot and one redirect later, it was in back of the St. Louis Blues’ net.
It was a good start to the day for Keith, and it would only get better.
Keith scored a goal and added three assists over 25 minutes of ice time as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 to win their best-of-seven, first-round series on Sunday afternoon. It was a tremendous day for Keith, who tied a postseason career-high with his four-point game.
“It feels good,” said Keith. “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.”
Keith played a big part in that, from generating offense to doing his work on defense and on the penalty kill, which snuffed out all six of the Blues’ power-play opportunities.
While Keith rarely likes to talk about himself, both coaches were more than happy to do so.
“I’ve been around six years with Duncs, that may have been the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re not just looking at his point production but his quickness, his patience and he defended well. He did everything well. We’re very happy for him and the way he played. It was a special, special night for him.”
Coach Ken Hitchcock was also complimentary.
“He's got a lot of (Nicklas) Lidstrom in him,” said Hitchcock, referring to the retired seven-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman. “Lidstrom did the same thing. You think you're out, and then you're out, all right: you're out at center ice facing off. He's good at that.”
The Blackhawks always benefit when their defensemen are part of their offense. They were on Sunday, and Keith was at the forefront of that. His goal came with 2:55 remaining in regulation, a 2-on-1 with Shaw that he finished with a backhand.
Keith has been a steady part of the Blackhawks’ defense for some time now. He’ll likely be among the Norris Trophy finalists when they’re announced. Right now, however, it’s about helping the Blackhawks win another Stanley Cup.
“He’s one of the best defensemen in the league,” Corey Crawford said. “He makes plays like that every night and he’s a key part of not only our defense and offense, but he also gets a lot of things going. There were a lot of great plays by him again tonight.”