Thursday, November 21, 2013
Toews enjoys return to Winnipeg
By Scott Billeck Special to ESPNChicago.com
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Jonathan Toews’ second coming to Winnipeg resulted in a much better performance from the Chicago Blackhawks' captain. Maybe it was nerves or the distractions of being home midseason, but Toews made no mistake the second time around.
Toews was surgical in Chicago's 6-3 demolition of the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at the MTS Centre.
Jonathan Toews was held scoreless in Chicago's 5-1 win in Winnipeg on Nov. 2, but he rebounded in a big way Thursday night, contributing a goal and three assists.
Toews exploded for four points, including a beautiful goal in the second period that was a must-see. Toews added three assists, most notably a sublime pass to Marian Hossa on the game-winning goal to cap off his triumphant return to the city where it all began.
“It is nice to see a few go in; like I always say, sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t,” Toews said with a grin. “Tonight, as a line, we had Sharpie [Patrick Sharp] back, we had a little momentum, a couple bounces here and there and nice to see some results.
“I will take that, but it is especially special to have that happen here in Winnipeg.”
Toews was held scoreless in the Blackhawks' 5-1 victory in Winnipeg on Nov. 2, Chicago's first visit to Toews' hometown this season. History didn’t repeat itself, however, possibly due to the more relaxed nature of this trip.
“He was special tonight,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “He was great in the faceoffs early in the first period, he scored an unbelievable goal in the second and made an unbelievable pass in the third. He had the puck a lot tonight and he was real good.”
Meanwhile, Quenneville said he was happy with his team’s bounce-back performance against the Jets.
“I really like the way we played tonight,” Quenneville said of his squad, coming off a 5-1 loss at Colorado on Tuesday. “I thought we answered the bell at the start of the game and answered the bell when they had their run there in the second. I thought we had an excellent first and third period and did a lot of good things to play the right way.”
Toews was equally pleased with the performance.
“We started better tonight,” said Toews. “Maybe we kind of had a second period that resembled the game we had in Colorado and Nashville, but I think we responded with a good third, too, especially protecting that one-goal and two-goal lead late in the third. We were playing smart and realized we need to stay out of the box, too.”
The Blackhawks' ability to bounce back after tough losses comes down to one thing, according to Toews.
“Our team,” the 25-year-old said. “I think experience and character and just thought process and mentality in our locker room. It is not just one or two guys talking, it is everybody getting in on the chatter and getting that energy up.”
The Blackhawks have a day off Friday before visiting the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.