DETROIT -- Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto had another "happy day." For a player who's been scratched as much as Lepisto has this season, any game he plays feels that way.
"It's nice to kind of know that you're going to play," Lepisto said. "You're more confident in your game. It's a good feeling. It makes the game easier to play."
Injuries to Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador might have led to more opportunities for Lepisto, but coach Joel Quenneville said Lepisto has given the Hawks ''good minutes'' in the 13 consecutive games he has played. Lepisto played only 5 1/2 minutes Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings.
"He's been steady," Quenneville said. "He's been reliable. He gives us some quickness. He moves the puck and gets up in the play."
Hjalmarsson's imminent return from a concussion might affect Lepisto's playing time, but he said he thinks he has played well. He's been paired with rookie Dylan Olsen.
"Obviously, every d-man wants to play a lot of minutes, but it's just not possible," Lepisto said. "I think I've played pretty good with the minutes that I've got. You can always do better, but I think I've been pretty solid for the most part."
Playing more also has helped his confidence. Lepisto has been a healthy scratch 43 times this season.
''You don't have to worry about the morning practice,'' Lepisto said. ''Is Q going to come talk to me and say I'm not playing or not? Of course, it's easier. You just focus on the game instead of if I'm getting scratched or not.
"Every time you play, it's just a happy day.''