Konroyd: Steady Leddy

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Konroyd: Steady Leddy

Last night in the game broadcast I mentioned that the trade that saw Nick Leddy come to the Chicago Blackhawks from the Minnesota Wild for Cam Barker was a great deal. play-by-play man Pat Foley took it one step further and said it wasn't often you hit a home run with a trade, but this was certainly one of them.

Leddy was a dominant force all night long against his former team, chipping in with two assists and playing almost 23 minutes. What you sometimes forget is here is a guy who just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago. He has been a nice addition to the power play since Duncan Keith was suspended for five games, and has helped the team go 3-for-10 over the last two games.

He is certainly one of the Blackhawks top-4 defensemen, something Cam Barker could never crack into. Barker, a former 3rd overall pick from 2004, has bounced around from Minnesota to Edmonton, where he was injured and then a healthy scratch for a good part of this year. Leddy may not bowl you over with his strength, but is a deceptively smooth and powerful skater who uses his stick instead of his body to break up plays. At 21 years of age and in barely his second year in the NHL, Leddy is the type of player in today's NHL that many GM's dream of.

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.