Thursday, June 20, 2013
Toews finds a way, ends scoring drought
By Scott Powers
BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews never hid the fact that his lack of scoring in the playoffs troubled him.
On Wednesday afternoon, he revealed just how troublesome it had been for him to score just one goal in the Hawks' first 20 playoff games.
"Every waking moment, it's something you think about," Toews said following the team's morning skate at TD Garden. "Just got to be hungry. Just got to be that guy that this time of year you don't get denied. No excuses. Got to find a way."
Toews found a way Wednesday night. He scored the second of the Blackhawks' six goals in a 6-5 overtime win over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals and put himself in the goals column for the first time since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Toews' goal Wednesday wasn't the prettiest he's ever scored, but he found watching the puck go into the net to be aesthetically pleasing. Standing in front of the net, Toews used his stick to tip a shot from Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask at 6:33 of the second period.
"I think it makes a world of difference for you when you finally see one go in," Toews said following the win.
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook wasn't physically involved in Toews' goal Wednesday, but Toews credited Seabrook with an assist. While the scoring drought did tricks to Toews' mind, it was Seabrook who got Toews back on track psychologically leading up to Game 4.
"I've got to say this, the last couple days, Seabrook has been coming up to me, asking me what I'm thinking about," Toews said. "You know, I have to give him the right answer. I'm thinking about scoring a goal. He's been trying to help me out, make me think a little bit better, have those positive thoughts.
"You work hard, eventually you're going to find a way. Tonight was one of those games, we treated it as a Game 7. We weren't going to be denied. So I felt that same way, too. It's time to put all those other games behind us, the games where we struggled to score, forget about it, just find a way to do what you do."
Aside from the end result, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought Toews was better offensively Wednesday than he had been. Toews finished with four shots on goal and a plus-2 rating. It also didn't hurt to be reunited with Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell. The line combined for two goals and three assists in the win.
"Johnny had the puck more today," Quenneville said. "I thought he was more friendly with it. That line was dangerous, be it off the rush, in zone. Obviously scoring has got to help him. The excitement of that line, Kaner in possession, Bick around with the big body, they scored some different kind of goals. But Johnny had a nice night."
Considering how little Toews has produced offensively in the playoffs, some might wonder how the Hawks were able to reach the finals.
“It’s crazy to think we’re in this position with what Johnny’s going through in the goal department,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. “It seems like our top players raise their level in big games, and he definitely did tonight.”