The Blackhawks entered Thursday night’s game knowing that, in the wake of Duncan Keith’s absence, they’d need a little bit more from everyone.
They got it.
Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane each had a power-play goal and two assists and Trevor van Riemsdyk played a career-high 22-plus minutes as the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 at the United Center.
Artem Anisimov scored his third goal of the season and Corey Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots in the victory. Crawford also got his first assist of the season, a secondary one on Kane’s power-play goal in the third period.
Keith is sidelined 4-6 weeks after having right-knee surgery earlier this week. He had a slight limp as he left the arena following Thursday’s game. But the Blackhawks don’t have much time to lament his loss. All they can do is try to pick up Keith’s responsibilities, and he has plenty of those.
“It’ll be a collective effort,” van Riemsdyk said. “Because not one human can do all the things he does out there.”
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So a few humans picked up the slack. Van Riemsdyk played a career-high 22 minutes, 34 seconds, including time on the power play and penalty kill. Seabrook recorded his three-point night in a game-high 26 minutes.
The Blackhawks won the possession battle — having eight power plays didn’t hurt them in that department. Outside of the Panthers’ getting a 5-on-3 for 1:54 — Jaromir Jagr scored near the end of it — the Blackhawks kept their opponent in check.
“We had the puck in the offensive zone a lot didn’t give them many opportunities. I thought we played a real strong team game, had lot of contributions across the board. The young guys on the back end looked fine. It was a solid two points. [It was a] little haywire there with that 5-on-3, but we got through it.”
That’s a phrase the Blackhawks may use over these next few weeks. Keith is a big loss, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride without him. But if the Blackhawks get more team-wide performances like they did on Thursday night, the time without Keith may not be as bad.
“Any time he’s not out there you definitely miss him. But like I said, the guys stepped up; they did a good job. The defense did a good job of playing together. Our forwards did a nice job of coming back and helping out… and Crow was a wall again,” Seabrook said. “It was a team effort tonight and we’re going to need that going forward.”