Strong preseason debuts for Keith and Crawford

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 28: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on February 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Capitals 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Scott King @ScottKingMedia 

Veteran Blackhawks Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford returned to the lineup Tuesday night to help the Hawks beat the Red Wings at the United Center. Keith had been taking things easy at practice after missing the World Cup. The defenseman spent time rehabbing his right knee which he had surgery on in October to repair a meniscal tear.

Crawford took a few days rest after being a part of Team Canada’s World Cup championship. “We got a lot of work in practice, so I felt sharp,” said Crawford, who backed up starting goaltender Carey Price on Team Canada. “Played a game and a half, so it will be good to get back in there and see some ice time.”

Like the rest of his Chicago teammates, Crawford is looking forward to the fresh start the 2016-2017 season will provide.

“We can recover pretty quickly I think,” Crawford said. “It didn’t take that long to recover from the season, but we have played a lot of games over the years. But I think the guys enjoy their time off. I enjoyed my time off, but I’m pretty excited to get things going. ”

Crawford stopped all eight Detroit shots he faced before being relieved by Scott Darling a little more than halfway through the second period.

Keith had two assists, a plus-3 rating and 19:41 of ice time in his return. “Feels good,” said Keith about his knee. “I think it was a good test getting back into game situation. So I was happy with it.”

The two-time Norris trophy winner has been impressed with defensive Blackhawks prospect 20-year-old Gustav Forsling from Sweden. “I was really impressed with him. I don’t think he missed a pass. It was tape-to-tape pretty much the whole game. He’s fun to watch.”

Scoresheet:

Ryan Hartman (forward) opened up the scoring on a rebound off a Duncan Keith shot in the first period for the first goal of the game.

Vinnie Hinostroza (forward) deflected an Andrew Desjardins shot in the first period to put the Hawks ahead two goals.

Richard Panik (forward) scored the Hawks’ first power play goal of the preseason in the second period to make it 3-0.

Nick Schmaltz (forward) redirected an Artemi Panarin shot in the second period to make it 4-1 Hawks.

Alexandre Fortin scored in the third period to make it 5-1.

Artem Anisimov scored on a power play with less than a minute remaining in regulation off a beautiful Gustav Forsling pass to make your final score 6-1 Blackhawks.

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