WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Jonathan Toews ripped a wrist shot from the left dot that had Winnipeg Jets goaltender Al Montoya looking behind him before realizing he’d made the save.
Toews stood by the net with his head down after being denied a storybook capper to the Chicago Blackhawks captain’s return to his hometown of Winnipeg. The moment was about the only thing that didn’t go right for the Hawks during a second-period offensive explosion that led to a 5-1 shellacking of the Jets on Saturday afternoon at MTS Centre.
Brandon Bollig and Nick Leddy each had a goal and an assist while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp also scored to help the Hawks record their third consecutive victory. Marcus Kruger added two assists as Corey Crawford earned the victory in goal.
Tobias Enstrom found the back of the net for the Jets but it wasn’t nearly enough as starting netminder Ondrej Pavelec was yanked during the Hawks’ second-period onslaught .
It was more than just one of 82 regular-season games for Toews as the Central Division matchup featured his first professional game in his hometown.
“It will be an emotional game,” Toews said before puck drop. “A game that I’ll try to elevate my game a little bit as opposed to maybe any other game. It’s just fun. I went to dinner with some friends and family (Friday night). It’s kind of weird being back here during the seaosn.
The 25-year-old Toews admitted that there would be butterflies playing in the city where he lives in the offseason and also where he brought the Stanley Cup following Hawks championships in 2010 and ’13. Toews was hoping to put emotions aside and concentrate on helping the Hawks to their third consecutive victory.
“First and foremost, we want to get a win and it would be nice to chip in on a little bit of the offense,” Toews said. “Just see a great game back and forth. We’re expecting the atmposphere to be great. Not only the Jets but the Jets fans are probably looking forward to this game as well.”
The game also had more meaning for the Jets’ Michael Frolik, who won the Cup with the Hawks last season before being traded during the offseason.
“It’s something special,” Frolik said. “I … stick with those guys for the rest of my life. We are on the Cup tgoether. It’s a special day. It’s nice to see them.”
Frolik, who went to dinner with former teammates Michal Rozsival and Marian Hossa in Winnipeg on Friday night, said he cherishes the bond he has with Hawks players from the 2013 team.
“The memories are there and they will be there for the rest of your life with those guys and those coaches and the management,” Frolik said. “It’s something special and I will never forget it.”