Hawks start trip right thanks to Toews' big night

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Hawks start trip right thanks to Toews' big night

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
Posted 8:43 p.m. Updated 9:46 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio Joel Quenneville had seen enough.

When the Columbus Blue Jackets scored two goals within 42 seconds early in the second period, the Chicago Blackhawks called a time out to try and settle his team down.

Four goals, a 5-on-3 kill and a lot of momentum later, it was apparent that it worked.

Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal late in the second period and added two assists as the Blackhawks came back twice to beat the Blue Jackets 7-4 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak they had entering the All-Star break.

It was looking touch and go, however, for a while. The Blackhawks got down 1-0 then went up 2-1 before the Jackets scored those two quick goals. Then the Blackhawks regrouped after that time out and scored four consecutive goals.

You dont expect to score four straight and you dont want to have to, but we always seem to respond from those time outs, said Toews. Weve got to be smarter defensively.

Nick Leddy, Duncan Keith, Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland also scored. Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with 35.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Toews was sharp on Tuesday, and his short-handed goal with 40 seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner, as it put the Blackhawks up 5-3 at the time. Hossa cleared the puck around the boards and Toews did the rest.

That short-handed goal, thats just huge. Theyre not cheating, theyre just smart, hard-working guys, said Marty Turco, who stopped 29 of 33 for the victory. Comebacks are always pretty huge. It just seems this team is getting more confidence. Were less frustrated and focusing on moving forward. Thats a good sign.

The Blackhawks also killed off a 37-second 5-on-3 midway through the third period when Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson were in the box.

Thats a huge kill, Quenneville said. They had some time on it and we had some penalty troubles there again. The penalty kill did a good job.

The Blackhawks will try and get home before heading to Vancouver on Thursday afternoon. Theyve got five more games on this road trip, and they need to get rid of the rust as they move forward.

I think everybody on both sides were trying to find their bearings again, Brent Seabrook said. We came out hard in the second and had a great third. It was good to see Marty shut the door there.

Ouch

Seabrook went down hard when Columbus center R.J. Umberger hit him while they were both chasing down a puck along the boards. Seabrook said he felt fine afterward.

I dont know if he just had body position but we both sort of went after each other pretty good and I got the worse end of it, Seabrook said. Hes a solid player and it was just a good hit on his part.

Turco progresses

Marty Turco said he hasnt been feeling my best physically, but improved as the game went on Tuesday. Turcos victory was his first since Jan. 16 against Nashville.

Its just nice to play and see shots and stay low and track pucks, Turco said. Youre just trying to get out there and play it and keep the progress moving forward. Its never great giving up four, but we won and we had a tremendous amount of character and battle in us to do so.

Briefly

The two teams left the ice with 39 seconds remaining in the first period after a power surge dimmed the lights a bit. They came out after the intermission and played those final 39 seconds before proceeding with the second period.

Due to the blizzard in Chicago, the Blackhawks stayed in Columbus on Tuesday night. They will practice here Wednesday before flying home.

Kanes goal was his first since Jan. 9.

Leddys goal was his second of the season.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

PITTSBURGH – Tanner Kero's been thrown into a lot of different situations in his time with the Blackhawks, be it third- or fourth-line center or penalty kill.

But with Artem Anisimov out, the second-line center spot has become new top-line, left-wing spot: The Blackhawks will keep trying guys out until they find one that works. Kero's the latest to get that opportunity, and since it worked well on Monday, he'll be there again on Wednesday.

Kero will center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane again when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The line had a good start to Monday's game against the Lightning in Tampa, scoring the team's first two goals — Kero assisted on Panarin's opener.

Coach Joel Quenneville liked Kero's first go-around there.

"Defensively he's in a good spot — he's usually in a reliable spot in his own end — he made a couple of nice plays offensively and didn't change his game too much," Quenneville said. "It's not easy playing with guys at that next level. It's certainly a great challenge and a great opportunity, so I thought he did a great job, took advantage of it. We'll see how he does going forward but we'll keep him in there for [Wednesday's] game and that gives us some more options."

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Learning on the fly can be part of a rookie season, especially when injuries arise. Jonathan Toews said Kero's handled everything well this season.

"Come to think of it, it's one of those little things that maybe goes over my head but he's definitely one of those versatile players who's as consistent as ever," Toews said. "He has, for his age, an incredible level of maturity and he carries that with him wherever he goes. You're seeing offensive improvement, too. He was making some good plays with Bread Man and Kaner. He's showing he can do it all and I think his work ethic and attitude's a source of that success."

Earlier this season Kero was with guys like Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza. They were all familiar with each other from their Rockford days, and that showed. Playing with two guys you don't know so well? It's a bit of a challenge, and one the three talk out. But ultimately, Kero said you have to rely on your instincts. 

"You go over things before the game and on the bench, get a feel for what you might want to do. But then you just have to play hockey," Kero said. "You have to trust your game, make plays. You know they're going to make plays with the puck so you try to use your speed and get open and try to go to the net, create space for them and a little traffic in front and try to capitalize on opportunities."

Anisimov will be out another 1-2 weeks. Asked if Anisimov has started skating back in Chicago yet, Quenneville said, "I don't think so but I'm not positive. But he's progressing." Filling Anisimov's skates isn't easy, as evidenced by the Blackhawks' search for his temporary replacement. Kero is the third guy to get that shot, and he took advantage of his first showing.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity to play with two great players," Kero said. "You just try to do everything you can and do the little things right."

Briefly

- Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith didn't practice on Tuesday but both are expected to play against the Penguins.

- Corey Crawford gets the start against Pittsburgh.

- Hartman, scratched after a rough game against the Florida Panthers, is probably back in against the Penguins.