The Blackhawks’ 2013 success has been paved by a complete-team effort. Forwards’ improved defense has helped the team to a league-best plus-36 goal differential this season. And the defensemen? Well, they’re adding to those point totals.
Blackhawks defensemen have been contributing offensively this season. Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook were the latest when they added their fifth and sixth goals of the season, respectively, in the team’s 2-0 victory over Calgary on Tuesday. The blue-line contributions have benefitted the Blackhawks, who have done well spreading the scoring wealth.
“Our D has been good in contributing to our offense, be it off the rush or the zone,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We definitely have some good shooters on the back end. We definitely have some motion going in the offensive zone, which can be tough to contain defensively. They don’t stay stationary. They’re looking for direct plays and getting involved with our cycle game, which enhances our puck possession game.”
Through 32 games this season, Blackhawks defensemen have scored 17 goals. Last season, they had just 26 over 82 games. In overall points, the defensemen have 75 so far this season after tallying 169 last season.
It’s been a welcome sight for the Blackhawks, and the defensemen are happy to help.
“The forwards are getting us the puck and doing a great job with that, and they’re getting in front of the net, too,” Leddy said. “It’s huge for us d-men, in taking the goalie’s eyes away.”
It’s been a good chain reaction for the Blackhawks: forwards being more defensively responsible and defensemen chipping in on offense. The results have shown on the scoreboard. A lot.
“Just all around, the defense is doing a good job. It’s just contributing in every kind of way,” center Dave Bolland said. “It just starts with the defense that leads to the offense.”