Blackhawks defensemen have been doing some forward thinking this season.
With three goals in Wednesday night's victory over Columbus and another in the Hawks' 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night at the United Center, the defensive corps already has 11 this season.
"This year the forwards are actually looking to give us the puck," said defenseman Jim Vandermeer, who scored the Hawks' second goal on a slap shot from the point on the power play late in the first period.
"With the forwards we have, we're always jumping up. [But] it's risk-reward. You read the play, see where the pass is coming from or where the shot is going and try to make a read off of that."
The Hawks won their second in a row and fourth in the last five.
"We played a very good game again," said goalie Patrick Lalime, who made 23 saves. "Everybody chipped in. We got a short-handed goal that was huge for us and the power play was firing again so it was a big win. With the way we're playing now it's fun to be part of this. Everybody is contributing and playing some good hockey."
Steve Wagner's power-play goal gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead with 8:33 remaining in the first period.
But Patrick Kane's power-play goal with 4:06 to go in the first tied it 1-1. The rookie skated past two St. Louis defenders and fired a wrist shot that Legace got his glove on but couldn't hang on to for Kane's sixth goal of the season.
"It seems like the past five games we're coming together," Kane said. "Even with injuries we still find a way to win."
Vandermeer made it 2-1 with his first goal of the season, a shot from the blue line with teammate Adam Burish screening Legace at the 18:49 mark.
"I just finished up the end of the power play, and guys have traffic and I knocked it through," Vandermeer said. "Marty Lapointe and Burish were in front of the net. You aren't going to score many goals from back there when there's nobody in front."
The Hawks opened the second period down a man with Tuomo Ruutu in the penalty box because of a holding penalty. Still, the Hawks extended the lead to 3-1 when Rene Bourque scored his first goal of the season when a Duncan Keith shot hit the winger and got past Legace. It was the Hawks' third short-handed goal against the Blues in two games this season.
St. Louis cut the lead to 3-2 on a David Perron power-play goal at the 11:17 mark. With the Hawks' Dustin Byfuglien off for holding, Perron sent a wrist shot past Lalime.
Yanic Perreault's empty-net goal with 1:03 left closed out the scoring. It was Perreault's second goal of the season.
"We have ability back there [on defense], and we have to use it to our advantage when we can," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "It's not just a three-man attack. You have to have a five-man attack.
"Because our forwards are very skilled up front, we're able to do that. They're able to gain the blue line and make good decisions with it. It makes a big difference."