WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The only thing that eluded Jonathan Toews during his first appearance as a professional in his hometown of Winnipeg earlier this month was finding the scoresheet in a Blackhawks victory over the Jets.
The captain took care of that in his second game in the area where he discovered and honed his hockey skills as Toews had a goal and three assists to lead the Hawks to a 6-3 victory over the Jets on Thursday night at the MTS Centre.
Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each added a goal and an assist while Brandon Saad, Ben Smith and Patrick Sharp also scored as the Hawks evened their record on a seven-game road trip to 1-1. Corey Crawford earned the win in goal while making his 13th consecutive appearance for the Hawks. Toews also had a strong night in the faceoff circle with 18 wins in 26 draws to spark the defending champions’ puck possession game.
Former Hawks Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien each had a goal and an assist and Keaton Ellerby also scored but it wasn’t enough as netminder Ondrej Pavelec suffered the loss in goal.
The Hawks, who have won the first three of four meetings between the teams this season, controlled the pace throughout the opening period and finally cashed in when Kane found the back of the net while on the power play. With the Jets’ Evander Kane in the box, Kane held the puck in offensive zone before unleashing a wicked wrist shot from the top of the left circle that roped its way past Pavelec to the stick side.
Crawford was on top of his game early on with a terrific save on Ladd in the first minute and followed that up with a diving pokecheck to halt a Bryan Little chance. The Hawks held a 12-2 shot advantage at the intermission.
The offenses exploded in the second with a combined three goals in 48 seconds and five overall in the period. Saad started the spree after taking a nifty pass from Marian Hossa and blasting a shot from the high slot that eluded Pavelec.
Then it was Winnipeg’s turn to turn on the Jets as Ladd and Ellerby scored :19 apart to tie it at 2-2 before Toews thrilled his family and friends with a highlight-reel move to put the Hawks back in front. The captain weaved his way through Ellerby and Tobias Enstrom before tucking the puck past Pavelec into the corner of the net.
The scores kept coming as Byfuglien scored and when the dust had settled on the second, the game was even at 3-3 with 20 minutes to play in regulation.
The Hawks reclaimed the pace in the third and eventually took over the game when Hossa finished after a terrific cross-ice saucer pass from Toews and Smith gave the visitors a two-goal lead when he pumped in a rebound of a Marcus Kruger attempt 2:11 later.