DENVER—Brent Seabrook has never played better defense than he is right now. And that’s powering his recent offensive surge.Or so goes the reasoning of Joel Quenneville, who praised his defenseman after another rock-solid performance on both ends of the ice.Seabrook’s power-play goal broke a second-period tie, Patrick Kane scored twice and the Central Division-leading Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Saturday night.Over his last five games, Seabrook now has six points (two goals and four assists). His goal against Colorado was a pinpoint shot into the upper corner of the net.Just where he was aiming, right?
”Shot it as hard as I could and hoped I didn’t hit anybody,” Seabrook said, smiling.
Moments after scoring, Seabrook turned in a nifty defensive play. With Matt Duchene racing down the ice on a breakaway, Seabrook caught up to him, lifted the speedy forward’s stick and poked the puck away.
”(Seabrook) was probably the one guy who turned it around,” said Quenneville, whose team flew in Saturday morning after a break for the holiday. ”I think the offense is coming because he’s been defending so well.”
Brandon Saad also scored for the Blackhawks, while Patrick Sharp celebrated his 33rd birthday with a game-sealing power-play goal in the third period.
”He’s getting old, but he can still score some goals,” Seabrook cracked.
Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson had goals for the Avalanche as their three-game win streak was snapped.This is the second time the Hawks have beaten Colorado at Pepsi Center this year after going 0-2 in the building last season.Corey Crawford stopped 11 of his 23 shots in the third period, none bigger than the one he made with the Avalanche on a 5-on-3 power play. He turned back a point-blank shot to help the Blackhawks successfully dodge both penalties.