CHICAGO – Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook ignored the critics as he endured a postseason slump and saw his playing time plummet.
Seabrook didn’t need a critic to describe his lack of production. He already knew.
“I was [angry] at myself, first and foremost,” Seabrook said.
In Game 5, Seabrook finally did something about it. He reunited with longtime defensive partner Duncan Keith and played one of his best games of the playoffs, with an assist and two hits in more than 23 minutes of ice time.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville praised Seabrook for his turnaround.
“You’ve got to commend ‘Seabs,’ ” Quenneville said Sunday before the Hawks boarded a flight to Detroit for Game 6 against the Red Wings. “I think he was excited about the opportunity [to play alongside Keith] and prepared himself well.
“They have such a great rapport – him and ‘Duncs’ – in all areas of their lives. I think that support on the other side helps him.”
Seabrook and Keith joined the Blackhawks during the 2005-06 season and have become close friends in their eight seasons together. That relationship extends both on and off of the ice, Seabrook said.
“I know where he’s going to be,” Seabrook said. “He knows where I’m going to be. It’s that comfortability that we have with each other.”
Take a shot: After scoring only one goal in the first four games of the series, the Blackhawks’ power-play unit emerged with a pair of goals in Game 5.
Keith said the answer was simple: The Hawks fired shots at the net instead of waiting for the perfect play.
“We’ve used a lot of different units and a lot of different strategies,” Keith said. “I think last night we had some guys in position to shoot the puck. That’s what we were doing. I think when you get those shots, it creates lots of chances off of a shot.”
Not forgotten: Corey Crawford also drew praise from his coach for playing well in Game 5, when he stopped 25 of 26 shots to win his sixth game of the playoffs.
“He’s been solid all playoffs,” Quenneville said. “ ‘Crow’ has been rock-solid for us. He’s made key saves at key times in games [and] gives us a chance to win.”
Crawford has a 1.66 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in the playoffs.