If you were of the disgruntled mindset that Duncan Keith was off to a particularly dreary start this season, then you and Duncan Keith have much in common.

"I played a lot of games the year before, and there were things I probably could have done differently during the summer to prepare for this season," the Blackhawks defenseman said Friday after a thoroughly dominant four-point effort the previous night in a season-saving Game 5 victory over the Canucks in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

"I like to work out and train a lot and feel good going into the season. I'm not making any excuses, but I didn't feel excited coming back to start a season. That's just being honest.

"I'm excited to play hockey now. Once you get on a bad start you're not happy with, it can kind of snowball in some ways."

So Keith, with four goals in the last three games, is finishing spectacularly what he started poorly. In a year, he went from 69 points, a plus-21 rating and a Norris Trophy to 45 points and a minus-1 rating, only to recapture elite form at the instant the Hawks needed it.

"We were saying it has been a while since we've seen him play that well," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "He was just all over the place. There wasn't anything he wasn't doing (Thursday) night."