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Saturday, March 5, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Leafs 3

By Jesse Rogers

TORONTO -- Here's a quick look at the Hawks' 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

How it happened: Near domination from start to finish left no doubt the Hawks would win their eighth straight. It started with a second-shift-of-the-game steal and goal by Marian Hossa. Two more scores in the opening period set the tone for a relaxed finish. When Toronto cut the lead to 3-1 in the second, the Hawks responded with two more before the middle 20 minutes were up. In the first 40 minutes, 10 of 12 Hawks’ forwards had points and each line had at least a goal. Corey Crawford outplayed his counterpart, James Reimer, moving smartly and staying with plays until the very last second and then making the save. That included a penalty shot stop on Mikhail Grabovski in a key moment in the third period when the Leafs has a chance to get back in the game. A few minutes later he stoned Mike Brown, at point blank, to complete another great night. The Hawks looked a little gassed in the third period giving up two goals but their big, early lead, helped them to another win.

What it means: The Hawks beat a surging Leafs team and beat them bad. Toronto had played nine consecutive one-goal games but that streak ended. The distribution in scoring the Hawks have gotten in the latter half of the win streak is reminiscent of a year ago and makes this run as impressive as any the championship team earned. In fact, their eight wins in a row ties the most the 2009-2010 team won -- in November of that season. Jonathan Toews continued his great play with his seventh goal in five games. He has points in nine consecutive contests, tops in the NHL. Others are nearly as hot. Hossa’s two points give him 11 in the last seven. It’s the same point streak he had to open the season. Patrick Kane has points in five straight. The Hawks are 10-3-1 in the back end of back to back games this year and 24-4-4 over the last two seasons.

What’s next: A trip to South Florida and a well deserved day off in the sun is next on the agenda. They’ll get back to work on Monday, before taking on the Dale Tallon led Panthers, Tuesday evening.