CHICAGO (AP) – Two of the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the NHL’s best defensive forward are taking center stage as the Red Wings and Blackhawks tangle with a berth in the Western Conference finals on the line, and it’s no coincidence.
The league’s top teams count on their forwards to come back and pressure the opponent’s top scorers, not only for defensive purposes but also to create chances on the other end.
Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Toews will be back on the ice when Chicago hosts Detroit in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.
“You need those kind of players to win, to be successful. Because you’re going to have times, usually half the time in your shift you’re going to be in your own end or you’re going to have to be defending,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, a former NHL defenseman, “and knowing where you have to go and coming up with loose pucks or forcing these guys to make indirect plays where you get the puck back, there’s a skill involved there and there’s some work that’s involved.”
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