Hawks, Toews deliver on 'fortunate break'

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
11:40
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t sure whether to believe his teammate Duncan Keith when it came to Keith’s intention on the winning goal in overtime against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their first-round series Friday.

Blues forward David Backes had taken a shot from the right circle, and the puck bounced off Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. Keith pounced on the puck right in front of Crawford and flung it down the ice.

Toews was skating just past center ice toward the Blackhawks’ zone when Keith saw the puck coming his way ... and not a single Blues player within a few feet. Toews stopped the puck, turned the other way and broke for the Blues’ net.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Toews, Ryan Miller
AP Photo/The St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Chris Lee

No matter how it was set up, Jonathan Toews put the finishing touches on the overtime winner in St. Louis.

With two Blues chasing him, Toews picked up his speed. Just as he approached the net, he deked to his right. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller began sprawling out to his left, knowing where Toews was going.

Toews slipped the puck just past the edge of Miller’s left leg pad and into the right corner of the net to give the Blackhawks the 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead.

Toews didn’t care in the end whether Keith meant to get him the puck. He didn’t know what was fact and what was fiction.

“He said he saw me,” Toews said. “He could be joking. He could be serious. I’m not sure. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that play. It was a nice play to throw the puck down the ice.”

The goal wouldn’t have to become another Blackhawks mystery, though. Keith ultimately revealed the truth.

“I’m not going to give myself that much credit,” Keith said. “Maybe some guys would, I don’t know. I just try to get that out of the zone, try to clear it and get it out. Lucky break by us.

“I was trying to get the puck out of the zone, and all of a sudden it lands on his stick. Couldn’t believe it. I was pretty happy seeing that. We wouldn’t want anybody else. If we had a guy on the breakaway, it was him. He’s pretty clutch when it comes to that. Nice goal.”

Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw also added another layer to the story of the improbable goal.

"[Keith] fired it down, it hit my leg and went to Jonny," Shaw said. "I guess the shin pad luck is back."

The Blackhawks and Blues have been responsible for creating many of their chances throughout the five-game series, but the Blackhawks didn’t pretend what factor played into the winning goal.

“We got a fortunate break,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I just said, ‘[Duncan,] what a pass.’ We obviously know what happened. We got a break, and Jonny buried.”

Toews turned to his skill to beat Miller, but he wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do as he skated toward the net.

“That was instinctive,” Toews said. “I’m not trying to think what I want to do there. I just try to get it moving and give my best effort.

“It just happened so fast. I jumped on the ice and got the puck. It just came right to me, and it happened to go in. The celebration: I wasn’t sure if it was real. It happened so quickly.”
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
6 2 4 0
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 3
AssistsP. Sharp 4
+/-J. Oduya 5
GAAC. Crawford 1.66