Following a tough Game 4 matchup, Jonathan Toews knew it was time to put it all out on the table after the Blackhawks' 2-0 loss to the Red Wings on Thursday.
"At this point, you have nothing to lose," he said. "You have to lay it all out there. Eventually something's got to give."
The Blackhawks captain had yet to record a goal in the postseason, but was ready to "lay it all out there" as his team entered a do-or-die Game 5 matchup.
Turns out, laying it all out there did the job for No. 19.
"It builds confidence, I don't care who you are," Toews said after scoring his first postseason goal in the Blackhawks' 4-1 victory on Saturday. "When you see it go in, you feel like you can do it again."
Toews' goal not only gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead in the second period, but also marked the second power play goal of the night following Andrew Shaw's just over two minutes prior. Like his teammates, Shaw was happy to see Toews shine.
"It's awesome. It's a lot of weight off his shoulders," said Shaw, who followed up by scoring the Blackhawks' fourth goal of the night as well. "He's been battling, they've been all over him and it just shows he's a great captain. He sticks with it and he keeps working and he was rewarded with it tonight."
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Coach Joel Quenneville had no complaints about his captain's postseason performance leading up to Saturday. But nonetheless, seeing that goal go in served as a great confidence booster for the Blackhawks.
"I thought Tazer, if you look at his last few games, I still thought he played a lot of great shifts and did a lot of good things the last few games with nothing to show for it, as he had probably this whole playoffs," Quenneville said. "A lot of times they measure the top guys on their production and obviously it was nice to get that one, but that line was dangerous and effective in a lot of ways.
"Going forward, I'm sure patience and comfort level in those areas and play recognition will probably be a little bit more comfortable for him."
Patrick Sharp was reunited with Toews and Patrick Kane on the Blackhawks' top line Saturday evening. Despite the criticism Toews had been facing, Sharp continued to see the same hard-working captain.
"He's been playing the same way the whole playoffs," Sharp said. "There's been a lot of talk about his offensive production, but I had a chance to play with him today and he works hard in all the right areas. He does the right things and we've all been there. I know how it feels to score that first one and it was a big goal for us nonetheless."
The Blackhawks had a lot to be happy about on Saturday night. They came out with the win, recorded two power-play goals and saw a tremendous amount of improvement compared to their previous play this series. But in addition to all that, the team was happy just to see their captain grinning again.
"[It's] nice to see the smile on his face instead of the frown," Bryan Bickell said. "He got that first one, there's many more to come. Good for the team and good for him."