DETROIT – Chicago forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews didn’t put up the offensive numbers fans are accustomed to seeing through one round of this year’s playoffs.
But the Red Wings read that to mean one thing … the Blackhawks are a very, very deep team.
“That just says a lot about their depth,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “That’s how good they are. It’s kind of like (Henrik Zetterberg) in here when he hadn’t scored in the first five games. He finds ways to beat you, whether it’s setting up guys for goals or just being the hardest working guy out there. Toews and Kane are two of the best out there and they’ll find different ways to beat you.”
Zetterberg went without a goal in the first five games of the Wings’ opening round series with Anaheim before scoring three goals over the final two games to get Detroit through to the next round.
Kane and Toews both have yet to score in the playoffs.
“I don’t know if you can just focus on one of them because that’s just how good they are,” Kronwall said. “They’re both so skilled, good hands, great vision, they’re the total package. We have to make sure we know where both of them are, even though that might be hard, but that’s something we have to focus on.”
Kane has five assists in five games, while Toews had two helpers.
“Point production for him, he’s usually pretty productive in that area,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane. “Whether he’s scoring the goal or setting it up, I think he’s involved with the puck and he’s involved with our offense.
“I thought had a decent first round and had an excellent season this year and he’s had the puck a lot more than he’s had it in the past,” Quenneville added. “I’m not particularly crazy about who scores a goal or not, as long as we’re getting some production and being consistent on both sides of the puck is what we’re asking, and he’s been that, so we’re happy with him.”
Patrick Sharp leads Chicago with five goals, followed by Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell who each have three.
“They love to wheel and get gap and start getting speed going,” defenseman Brendan Smith said of Kane and Toews. “They can make you look foolish as well. You play those players a little bit different.
“Guys like Toews and Hossa are very similar, they’re so competitive and strong that you need your A-game on them all the time,” Smith continued. “Not saying that you don’t for Kane, but you can out-battle him a little bit more because he’s a smaller player, but he does other things well. He sees the ice so well. It’s a different way to play each of them. We’ve played against them and we’ve played hard against them so we know what to expect.”