High Five: Red-hot Hawks, Toews fly by Wild

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High Five: Red-hot Hawks, Toews fly by Wild

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted 9:31 p.m. Updated 10:55 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa sprinted down the ice for a 2-on-1 opportunity, Hossa connecting to end the Minnesota Wilds late burgeoning threat to tie the game.

WATCH: Coach Q says Toews is a force

Its just the way the Chicago Blackhawks are rolling right now. The team that struggled to hold onto ties or leads late is now finding ways to win them.

TRADE: Hawks land defenseman Campoli

Toews had a goal and two assists and Patrick Sharp scored his 33rd goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-2 at Xcel Energy Center on Monday night. The Blackhawks have now won a season-best five in a row and at games end sat in sixth place in the Western Conference.

We dont even feel like were on a hot streak right now, said Toews, who now has points in six consecutive games. Were just taking it one game at a time. Whenever we come up with two points, whether its a shootout win or by a couple goals, it doesnt matter how we get it.

Not that this one didnt have its drama at the end. The Blackhawks led 3-0 after two but the Wild struck early in the third when Martin Havlat came out of the penalty box to beat Corey Crawford. They scored again with less than five minutes left, as Brent Burns knocked home a rebound and then got a power play about a minute later.

But when Pierre-Marc Bouchard made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to keep the puck in the zone, Toews took it and went with Hossa to set up Hossas short-handed goal.

We got ourselves in a little trouble, said Hossa, who now has a goal in each of his last four games. We controlled the game pretty much all the way and then they scored that second goal and it was a game. Toewser picked up that puck and made a really nice play to me. Basically, I just tried to hit it in.

Crawford, starting in his eighth consecutive game, stopped 24 of 26 for his 23rd victory this season.

Everyone, especially on the road, keeps it real simple, he said. Were not forcing anything. We create our opportunities down low and were not giving the other team too much.

Its not really surprising at this point that Toews was once again at the center of a big play. Hes been strong all season but especially these past few games, as the Blackhawks have pulled themselves back into the Western Conference hunt.
Marian Hossa taps in the pass from Jonathan Toews for a short-handed goal to put the Blackhawks up 4-2 late in the third period. The Blackhawks continue to excel when Hossa scores and the assist was the third point of the game for Toews, giving him 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in his last 6 games. (AP)
Hes been a force, coach Joel Quenneville said. Hes been dominating in all aspects of the game. That was a huge goal at the end with patience. (Patrick Kane) gave him a comparable play early in the game. Hes been a huge factor.

The Blackhawks are finally putting together the run theyve wanted. Those points they used to leave behind theyre now collecting. Now they need to keep it going.

Weve been looking all year to put something together like this and the last three games have been huge games, Quenneville said. Lets keep the momentum here, build off the positive things. There are some things we cant be happy about in this game but the two points are the best part.

Briefly

The Blackhawks are now 18-4-2 this season when Hossa records a point.

John Scott made his presence known against the Wild, fighting Brad Staubitz after Staubitz hit Brian Campbell on an icing call.

Fernando Pisani and the newly acquired defenseman Chris Campoli were healthy scratches on Monday night.

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

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.

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