Blackhawks notes: New defensive pairings pay off

Blackhawks notes: New defensive pairings pay off

March 31, 2013, 3:30 pm
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DETROIT – When the Blackhawks practiced on Saturday, their usual defensive pairs were looking, well, not so usual.

Coach Joel Quenneville figured it was time to change things up a little, so Duncan Keith was with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook with Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya with Michal Rozsival. Those changes applied on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings, and they didn't hurt.

The Blackhawks’ defense was looking sharp again in a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Quenneville said before the game that the changes weren’t necessarily because of recent poor performances.

[MORE: Blackhawks' dominating performance leaves Red Wings stunned]

“We don’t mind the way they’re playing,” he said. “But over the course of a year, it’s something we like trying and we’ll see how it looks, just in case.”

On Sunday, it looked fine. Minutes were spread relatively evenly among the defensemen, and it didn’t look like players were affected by the changes.

“You try things hoping they’ll work,” Quenneville said. “And you have more options moving forward.”

Ouch

Daniel Carcillo took a nasty shot off what appeared to be his right ankle about five minutes into the first period on Sunday afternoon. Carcillo went down on all fours, then needed help getting to the locker room, putting no weight on his right foot. But Carcillo, who has missed ample time with injuries to both knees, returned just a few minutes later.

Carcillo played 11:31 and finished a plus-1. Quenneville said the shot Carcillo took wasn’t where originally thought.

“You don’t know where the shot was (at first). You find out it was a foot. I shouldn’t say that, it was lower body,” said Quenneville, who liked Carcillo’s outing. “He’s come back the last couple of games. He’s got some more pace to his game, purpose to it as well. That (fourth line) was useful.”

Forget it

Corey Crawford was 33 seconds away from collecting his third shutout of the season, but Cory Emmerton scored to deny him. Crawford got his stick slashed out of his hand, and was angry about it. At first.

“I ran out there yelling at the ref,” he said. “Then I realized it was 7-0.”