Toews out Tuesday, All-Star game unlikely

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Toews out Tuesday, All-Star game unlikely

Jonathan Toews provides so much to this Chicago Blackhawks team. For at least one game, his teammates will have to go without him and everything he brings.

Toews, who suffered an upper-body injury against Nashville on Saturday night, will be out when the Blackhawks host the Predators on Tuesday. Toews is officially listed as day to day, and coach Joel Quenneville said the injury, which prompted Toews departure in the second period on Saturday, is not serious.

Quenneville also said that Toews appearance in this weekends All-Star game in Ottawa is not likely. Asked if Toews could be ready for the Blackhawks Western Canada trek after the break, Quenneville said, well see. Well get a better assessment after (the break).

You certainly miss his leadership, how important he is to our team, Quenneville said. In a game like Saturday, you dont have him in all the areas. It changes the complexion to what our options are.

Toews was slashed on his left arm during Fridays game against the Florida Panthers, although he did finish that game. Asked if that was part of what caused Toews Saturday injury, Quenneville said there was no defining blow.

If nothing else, Toews injury comes at a time when he gets a good chance to recuperate. The Blackhawks have six days in between Tuesdays game and their next, a Jan. 31 game in Vancouver. With Quenneville deeming the injury not serious, the time could certainly be beneficial.

We miss (Patrick) Sharp already. We have to battle but other guys will have a chance (to play), Marian Hossa said. Im sure weve got everything to win the hockey game.

The Blackhawks altered their lines in Toews absence on Monday. Dave Bolland was centering the top line of Viktor Stalberg and Patrick Kane, and Michael Frolik centered the checking line.

Injuries happen to every team every season. The Blackhawks will be missing a big piece with Toews, although they may not be missing him for long. If nothing else, the Blackhawks face another test to see who else in that locker room can step up and help fill a void.

You get tested along the way; everyone absorbs a little bit more, Quenneville said. It adds more to your (overall) leadership when you lose your captain. You find out things, which is good for us.

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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