Duncan Keith has been careful this preseason, sticking with just one practice when the Blackhawks were having two per day earlier in training camp and biding his time until the staff deemed him ready to play.
He was pronounced ready for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, and he looked it.
Keith had two assists and Richard Panik scored the team’s first power-play goal of the preseason as the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 6-1 at the United Center. Keith had wanted to get into at least one or two preseason games to get his timing back and see where his stamina was. He said he felt like himself, “right away.”
“Lots of energy before the game and it’d been awhile since I played last,” said Keith, who played just under 20 minutes. “So, I was excited to get back out there and get in front of the crowd again and play in a real game.”
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Alexandre Fortin had a goal and an assist and Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov also scored. Brian Campbell had two assists. Corey Crawford played the first half of the game, stopping all eight shots he saw. Scott Darling finished it, stopping nine of 10 shots.
Vinnie Hinostroza also got his first goal of the preseason when Andrew Desjardins’ shot went off him and past Jimmy Howard. Hinostroza, who was at left wing in this game, said he felt much better there.
“I think every game, I get a little bit more comfortable,” said Hinostroza. “First shift hit the post and finally got a lucky bounce there, but it felt good to get a goal. It was fun. It was a good night.”
As for Keith and how ready he’ll be for the regular-season opener next week, he considered himself “ready to roll.” Coach Joel Quenneville said Keith looked like, well, Keith.
“Solid, good gap, good play recognition, patience and certainly didn’t look like he missed too much time,” Quenneville said. “Our [defensive] group as a whole was real solid, whether gap or play recognition or puck movement tonight. Good addition with him helping manage about the same kind of ice time. He really defended well.”