Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane bury pucks at last as Hawks score six
|06.20.13 at 1:31 am ET|
Of the Blackhawks’ seven highest scorers this postseason, just one — Patrick Sharp — had a goal in the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals. That changed significantly on Wednesday in Game 4, when the Hawks battered Tuukka Rask with 47 shots and two of the ones that went in came, finally, from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Possibly the most notable name on the scoresheet Wednesday was Toews, who hadn’t put the puck in the net since May 25 against Detroit in the conference semifinals. Toews gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead in the second period when he tipped a Michal Rozsival shot past Rask, breaking a 10-game drought.
“The last couple of days, [Brent] Seabrook has been coming up to me, asking me what I’m thinking about. You know, I have to give him the right answer,” Toews said, cracking a smile. “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.”
Toews was reunited with Kane and Bryan Bickell, with whom he’s had success this spring, in Game 4 after starting Game 3 between Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger. In addition to Toews’ goal, Kane put away a backhander in the second period and set up Seabrook’s overtime game-winner, and Bickell assisted on both Kane’s and Seabrook’s goals. The three of them combined for 11 shots.
“I like that line,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the trio. “Big picture, getting reunited, they seem to have some chemistry. Scoring certainly helps. But, you know, got a little bit of difference – everybody in that line brings something different to the party. [Bickell] off the rush can shoot. Kaner has possession. Jonny gets through. It’s a nice combination. So it was nice to see them back and productive, too.”
Having Marian Hossa, who was tied for the team lead in playoff points entering Game 4, back in the lineup didn’t hurt. With Toews, Kane and Bickell back together, Hossa skated with Michal Handzus and Sharp, giving the Hawks two lines with a significant scoring punch. Handzus and Sharp each chipped in a goal, and Sharp had a game-high eight shots.
Hossa missed Game 3 with an undisclosed upper-body injury, and while Sharp implied he may not yet be 100 percent, Hossa still played 19:07 and contributed four shots on Wednesday.
“It was great playing with him,” Sharp said of Hossa. “He does a lot of good things out there. He’s probably not moving his best, but to see him in the lineup with what he’s going through is a big boost for our team.”
It’s impossible to pigeonhole the Blackhawks, who allowed the fewest goals per game in the league during the regular season, as an offensive powerhouse neglectful of defense. It’s likewise impossible to dismiss the Bruins, who also scored five goals in Game 4 and have 12 over the last four games, as a team desperate for offense.
But in a high-scoring game like Wednesday’s, with the B’s defense making uncharacteristic mistakes, the odds will favor the Hawks, who ranked second in the league this season in goals per game, with 3.10, and fifth in shots per game, with 31.1. They broke through with a power-play goal on Wednesday after a horrendous showing with the man advantage in Game 3, and Brandon Saad even took advantage of a Tyler Seguin turnover in the first period to pick up a shorthanded goal. Throughout this season, a Blackhawks squad with all its offensive weapons firing has proven a tough task for even the most defensively sound teams.
“We’ve got four lines that can score. We’ve got four lines that can skate. We’ve got a mobile defense,” Sharp said. “We’re not saying we want to open the floodgates and create chances, but I think when we play that attack game and that confident style offense, I think when we get on the inside we can be a successful team.”