Despite huge minutes for some, Blackhawks will be ‘ready to get right back at it’

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For the second time in these playoffs, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith logged over 45 minutes of ice time.

The actual number in Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, a 3-2 Chicago victory in triple overtime, was 49:51. That’s only a few minutes more than the 46:19 he received in Game 4 of the first round versus Nashville, another triple OT win.

In 12 playoff games, Keith has averaged a remarkable 32:02. And the “freak” hasn’t been the only workhorse on the back end. Brent Seabrook (26:15), Niklas Hjalmarsson (26:11), and Johnny Oduya (26:07) have also been eating up the minutes.

Meanwhile, Kimmo Timonen and Kyle Cumiskey each played sparingly (relatively speaking) last night, logging 16:45 and 18:34, respectively.

The former, at 40 years old and after missing most of the regular season, has struggled to keep up since joining the Blackhawks in a late-season trade. Lacking the mobility that was once a trademark of his game, he’s been hit, and hit hard, multiple times by the Ducks.

The latter was making his 2015 playoff debut (replacing David Rundblad, who’d previously come in for Michal Rozsival) and, other than one near disastrous giveaway, actually held his own.

“Everybody had significant minutes, no matter who you were in that game,” coach Joel Quenneville said afterwards.

“I’m sure everybody will be tired and relaxed over tomorrow’s day, and then I’m sure everybody will be looking forward to Thursday. 

“Right now, it’s one of those games, the minutes look skewed when you look at it, but the game is what it is. Guys recover between periods, although they even have shorter intermissions, too. 

“It’s a good test, but I think our team’s gone through that more than once and are ready to get right back at it.”

Time will tell if all those minutes eventually catch up to the Blackhawks. This series is guaranteed to go at least three more games, and the Ducks, in stark contrast, have confidence in all six of their defensemen.