toews_canucks_win.jpg

Jonathan Toews celebrates after his game-winning goal Sunday. | AP

Blackhawks hoping Jonathan Toews builds off game against Canucks

SHARE Blackhawks hoping Jonathan Toews builds off game against Canucks
SHARE Blackhawks hoping Jonathan Toews builds off game against Canucks

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has accomplished pretty much everything.

He has won three Stanley Cups, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs, a Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward and multiple honors playing for Team Canada. He’s recognized as one of the NHL’s best two-way players and pre-eminent leaders.

But even someone with that résumé can get frustrated and start to wonder about himself. That has happened to Toews as his production has dipped this season.

‘‘I guess it’s easy to start second-guessing everything when you’re not scoring,’’ Toews said. ‘‘Even a game like [Sunday against the Canucks], where I don’t even feel like I played that great and you’re on the ice for a handful of goals, it doesn’t really matter. It just gives you a good feeling, and it’s easy to come to the rink and just kind of build off that.’’

Toews had a goal and three assists in the Hawks’ 4-2 victory against the Canucks. He was in the right place at the right time to score the tiebreaking goal with 1:18 left in regulation after a shot by Richard Panik ricocheted off the end boards and left him with a shot at a gaping net.

The Hawks hope Sunday was the boost Toews needed to get rolling offensively.

‘‘He wasn’t having luck on his stick,’’ Panik said. ‘‘The puck wasn’t going in. But . . . it was a huge night for him. Pretty happy. Hopefully he will bounce on and go from there.’’

Even after his big game, Toews’ eight goals and 18 assists are off his usual pace. And even for someone as mentally tough and strong-willed as Toews, an uptick would be welcome for reasons beyond stats.

‘‘There’s no doubt that when they’re not going in, it’s a little bit tougher and a bit of a mental battle,’’ Toews said. ‘‘But for myself, it’s just finding ways to try to create that feeling of confidence goal-scoring gives you . . . even if you play a good game here or there to try to get that consistency up. I think that’s maybe one of my issues this year is getting my game to the level I want it to be at every single night.

‘‘It was fun to be a part of the win and be a part of the offense. Looking to try to continue that and use that confidence that comes with it.’’

Toews’ teammates haven’t lost any faith in him. They see his numbers are down, but they’re not doubting he will rebound.

‘‘He’s been playing well, and we all know the level he can get to,’’ goalie Corey Crawford said. ‘‘He’s maybe not been at that level so far, but you know we never doubt him in this room. He’s one of our best players, and he can turn it on.’’

Coach Joel Quenneville knows that, too. He recognizes how hard Toews works and sees him contributing even when he’s not scoring. But he also knows Toews wants to produce points.

‘‘We feel he’s been coming along,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘A night like [Sunday] can really help, be it confidence or having the puck in the scoring area, whether it’s making plays or finishing your shot or being around it. He seems like he was around the puck way more. When he does that, usually good things happen.”

Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.


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