CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was keeping pace with Patrick Kane in goals not that long ago.
Toews scored his 12th goal of the season and tied Kane for the team lead during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 25. But Kane regained the lead with his own goal fewer than three minutes later, and the two players have been on different goal paths ever since.
Kane has scored nine goals since that day, and Toews has just one. Toews has gone five games without a goal, and his only goal in the last 14 games came on Dec. 11.
Toews admitted Friday he’d like to get the scoring portion of his game rolling again, but he also wasn't stressing over it because he has nine assists over those 14 games and his line, which also includes Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, was contributing with offense.
“We’re producing,” Toews said. “We’re kind of back on track the last handful of games or so. For myself, it’s maybe focusing on a few things that’ll start helping me score goals, I guess.”
Toews thought shooting more was one way to fix the issue. He averaged three shots on goal in October and 2.7 shots on goal in November. He’s averaging 1.9 shots on goal through 11 games in December.
“I think some situations I could shoot the puck more, but I think there are a lot of times where I know those two guys are going to be open,” Toews said. “I try to get them the puck as much as I can. If we score as a line, that’s the important thing.
“I think for myself I’d like to find a way to get back on the score sheet that way and get that confidence back. Like I said, it’s just taking advantage of opportunities. I tell Hoss and Sharpie to shoot the puck whenever they get the chance, and you know we’ll get rebounds and second opportunities if they don’t go in. I got to start thinking the same way.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville isn't concerned about it. He believes the goals will come for Toews, who endured a similar spell during the playoffs last season and ended up netting keys goals in Games 4 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“Johnny goes in stretches where it’s going in for him and sometimes whether he’s getting assists or goals or neutralizing top guys on the other team, I think you know he’s always contributing to the team game,” Quenneville said. “I think everybody has stretches where they go in the net a little easier than other times. I’m sure he’ll have some stretches where it keeps going in. I hope so.”