Duncan Keith was just trying to get Jonathan Toews’ attention as quickly as possible.
“I was just calling for (the puck) as loud as I could and hopefully Toews would get it to me,” Keith said. “He did, and I just tried to get it on net.”
He did, and it proved to be the game winner.
Keith scored his seventh goal of the season and Corey Crawford stopped 26 shots for his sixth shutout this season as the Blackhawks beat the Ottawa Senators, 3-0, on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have now won three in a row and jumped ahead of St. Louis to second in the Central Division.
Artem Anisimov scored his 15th goal of the season and third in as many games. Andrew Desjardins added an empty-net goal; Desjardins now has four goals and an assist in his last three games.
[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Blackhawks acquire Richard Panik from Maple Leafs for Jeremy Morin]
On a night when there wasn’t a lot of flow and weren’t a lot of scoring opportunities, the Blackhawks had to take advantage of whatever chances they got.
“Yeah, we’ll take a win,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Certainly it was definitely a low-chance affair tonight, just the opposite of when we saw them in Ottawa, when it was up and down the ice with high quality at both ends. It’s probably the respect of knowing they’re dangerous off the rush, and they’re thinking the same way against us. It was hard to generate any kind of flow or offensive-zone opportunities. Duncs got a nice goal for us and loosened things up a bit.”
Anisimov scored off a Michal Rozsival rebound to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead six minutes into the third period. Desjardins added his empty-net goal with 47.9 seconds remaining in regulation.
“Obviously it’s nice to see Desi get some goals here lately. But any time you get that secondary scoring or guys like Desi chipping in on the offense, it helps our team so much,” Keith said. “Getting that empty-netter was a relief. Otherwise, they still feel they’re in it.”
Crawford, meanwhile, got the 18th shutout of his career. It wasn’t Crawford’s busiest night shot-wise, but one in which his focus was there from start to finish regardless.
“He wasn’t tested early, and sporadically they came at him,” Quenneville said. “But he’s been doing a good job for us.”
[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]
Crawford, who played in his 300th career game on Sunday, said he’s learned plenty in his last few seasons with the Blackhawks.
“Every year that’s the goal is to be predictable, consistent and give your team confidence going into games knowing what they’re going to get,” he said. “That’s definitely an important thing for a goaltender.”
The Blackhawks like how they’re doing as they near the midway point of the season. They’ve had some tricky moments, but they’re finding the right combinations and finding ways to win. They’re also finding each other on the ice at critical times, much like Toews did with Keith on Sunday.
“I don’t think we’re ever really satisfied with where we’re at, but we’ve improved from where we started. Having said that, we know there’s lots more room for improvement in what we want to do as a team and how we need to play,” Keith said. “It’s good there are lots of games left to do that.”