Injuries disrupt encouraging stretches for Blackhawks rookie defensemen Adam Boqvist and Lucas Carlsson
Both missed the game Friday against the Red Wings, interrupting a three-game points streak for Boqvist and a solid first five-game NHL stint for Carlsson.
DETROIT — March was shaping up to be a big month for the Blackhawks’ two rookie defensemen.
Then injuries struck at the worst time.
In his fifth NHL game, Lucas Carlsson took a deflected shot to the side of his head Thursday against the Oilers and suffered a concussion.
Adam Boqvist, meanwhile, was a late scratch for the Hawks’ game Friday against the Red Wings with an injury to his right wrist.
The Hawks were forced to deploy seventh defenseman Nick Seeler and emergency call-up Dennis Gilbert.
In the short term, it isn’t a devastating blow — although the Hawks temporarily have four defensemen on the shelf, with Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan done for the season. But it is an untimely disruption to Carlsson’s and Boqvist’s development curves. After all, both were playing excellent hockey.
‘‘He can pass the puck,’’ Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said of Carlsson before he was hurt Thursday. ‘‘He moves it well. He’s confident with it, which helps. It gives yourself [an] out of the D-zone [and] creates good situations for people you’re on the ice with.’’
Colliton unintentionally passed the injury curse to Boqvist by complimenting him Friday.
‘‘He’s been . . . comfortable with the puck, making a lot of plays,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘Him and [Duncan Keith], both on the breakouts and on the offensive blue line, are doing a very good job. But it’s also how you defend. If you defend well and close quick and are able to get stops in the D-zone and [keep a] tight gap on the rush and defend against entries, then you have the puck a lot more and it’s easier to play.’’
The latter part of that quote was a reference to a turnover by Boqvist in the third period against the Oilers, which led to a goal against and a temporary in-game benching.
But Boqvist had two assists earlier in the game to run his streak to five points (all assists) in his last three games.
He also had dominated in the possession stats in his last four games. The Hawks had produced 58 shot attempts and 32 scoring chances with him on the ice and had allowed only 45 and 22, respectively.
‘‘I’m just finding my way, getting back in my game,’’ Boqvist said. ‘‘I struggled a little bit there before these four or five games. And obviously we’re . . . playing good and creating a lot in the offensive zone.’’
Finding his way has included unleashing his offensive instincts, which he had curtailed while cementing his roster spot but which have begun to re-enter his game.
‘‘I have more confidence now,’’ Boqvist said. ‘‘When you’re up for the first time, you don’t want to do any mistake, you don’t want to get sent down. . . . But now I feel like I’ve been up for a while, so I can take the next step in my NHL career.’’
Carlsson quickly had demonstrated the same puck-moving traits in his first few appearances. He consistently had kept his head up — literally — and maintained the poise that made a star at Rockford in recent seasons.
He made a beautiful transition breakout pass to wing Patrick Kane to earn his first NHL point Tuesday against the Ducks.
‘‘I feel pretty good,’’ Carlsson said before getting hurt Thursday. ‘‘It’s a lot of new things when I came here, new team and everything, but it feels good.’’
Late Thursday, however, his adjustment had been put on hold. A night later, Boqvist joined him in that department.