Hooked on their captain

May, 26, 2013
5/26/13
12:35
AM CT
Isaacson By Melissa Isaacson
ESPNChicago.com
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Jonathan Toews did not win the game for the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night. But it felt like he may have turned the series.

His second-period goal off Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard's mask was the Hawks' third goal in a 4-1 Game 5 victory to keep the Western Conference semifinals and their season alive heading into Game 6 in Detroit Monday night.

Toews was as mentally battered as we have ever seen him in Game 3 with three penalties -- two for high-sticking -- in one six-minute span in the second period. He could also have been called for slashing Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg while an official stood between them.

Worse was that while Zetterberg has been the best all-around player for Detroit, Toews had not scored a goal in the playoffs to that point.

If you don't think seeing their captain and their rock in such a shaky state affected the Hawks as a team, then you haven't been watching the positive effect he has had over them for the last six years.

Read the entire column.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26