The NHL’s postseason ice-time leader does not seem fazed by his long shifts.
Duncan Keith, who averages 31:49 of ice time per contest, played a key role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-2 Game 6 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Not only did he record an assist on each of his team’s first three goals, including the primary helper on the eventual game winner, he was the saving grace shortly after the Ducks made it a one-goal game in the third period.
Goaltender Corey Crawford had to be feeling melancholy after allowing two goals. Factor in that he was bearing down one of the game’s elite snipers and net crashers in Corey Perry, the moment seemed helpless for the Blackhawks netminder. As swift as an eagle swooping down and gathering his prey, Keith’s stick daftly swiped the puck away from danger to keep the game at a favorable score for the home team.
He is doing it all. With the Blackhawks relying on the assistant captain more than ever, Keith has answered with intelligent stick work, bold passing and impeccable defensive zone coverage. His plus-11 rating ranks first in the NHL, while his 14 assists are just three behind Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf for the League lead.
Keith’s accomplishments have been with little push back, as well. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has accumulated just four penalty minutes in his squad’s 16 games. He is able to provide his stalwart abilities nearly every time the Blackhawks take a penalty (40:06 of shorthanded ice time, average of 2:30 per game). He has been the go-to force with the extra man, as well, playing in 50:11 of power-play time (average of 3:08 per game to lead his team in both categories). He’s responded by assisting on three of the Blackhawks’ eight power-play tallies in the postseason.
With Game 7 looming Saturday night in Anaheim, all eyes will be on Keith to see if he can emulate his playoff performance for another night.
If the past is any indication, the question has already been answered.
For more on the Blackhawks and happenings across the NHL landscape, take a look at today’s hockey news.
More on Keith’s dominance in Game 6. [Bleacher Report]
More about the Blackhawks’ win. [Second City Hockey]
Pete DeBoer will be named the next Sharks coach. [Fear The Fin]
Dan Bylsma is in talks with the Sabres. [Toronto Sun]
Guy Lafleur says Brendan Gallagher should be the next Canadiens captain (video). [Vancouver Sun]
Michael Latta will seek more ice time in Washington next season. [The Washington Post]
A lead Las Vegas investor wants an NHL team in 2017. [Sportsnet]