Blackhawks 5, Blues 4 (OT): Captain Jonathan Toews stars with a hat trick
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ST. LOUIS — It wasn’t how captain Jonathan Toews scored his three goals in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 overtime victory against the rival Blues on Saturday at the Enterprise Center that resonated with coach Joel Quenneville.
It’s when Toews scored them.
“You think about the score,” Quenneville said.
Down 2-0, Toews cut into the Blues’ lead by scoring a goal with 90 seconds left in the first period.
“All of sudden, [he] got us back in the game,” Quenneville said.
Down 4-3, Toews netted the equalizer by planting himself in front of goalie Jake Allen again at 6:59 in the third period.
“He scored obviously a huge goal to tie the game,” Quenneville said. “Then the winner, a bigger one.”
It was the Hawks’ resiliency mantra played out in a single effort. And Toews led the way. For the first time in franchise history, the Hawks opened the season with back-to-back overtime wins.
Quenneville called Toews’ first two goals “workmanlike” because he was in front of Allen (25 saves), but his winner came on a breakaway that was sprung by strong defensive plays by forward Brandon Saad and rookie defenseman Henri Jokiharju.
“[Being resilient is] one of the qualities we’re working at,” said Toews, who netted his sixth career hat trick, including the playoffs. “It’s a nice sign for us to get the results. We’re working for it. We knew it was going to be a tough game in this building tonight. And a lot of the guys that haven’t been part of this team for a long time really bought into the rivalry we have with this team.”
For the second game in a row, the Hawks’ best players were exactly that on the road. Not to be outdone, winger Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist.
Kane’s production was all part of an outstanding second period for him and his line. He scored on a shot from the top of the slot, while center Marcus Kruger later scored off a rebound of his shot.
Hawks goalie Cam Ward made 26 saves on 30 shots to notch his second victory in as many starts. Forwards Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat each had two assists.
Forward Vladimir Tarasenko led the Blues with two goals, which included a power-play score in the third period that Ward appeared to stop with his stick. But the goal was reviewed and overturned. Defensemen Colton Parayko and Chris Butler also scored for the Blues, who took a 4-3 lead with two goals in a 22-second span in the third period.
“It’s just something that we can build off,” Kane said. “Think of in the first game against Ottawa, a couple comebacks there, and then obviously tonight [against the Blues] as well. You probably want the wins a little bit easier but as far as excitement and being happy about these two wins, you probably couldn’t get any better, especially for the response in the locker room and how everyone has been positive in here and sticking together.”
The Hawks certainly had their issues in St. Louis. Defenseman Brent Seabrook had a particularly bad stretch in the first period, during which he was beaten by winger Pat Maroon for a scoring chance and then knocked to the ice by Maroon, which resulted in Tarasenko’s first score.
But the Hawks responded. It’s what they want to do, especially in the early going this season. It’s part of their underdog mentality after missing the playoffs last season.
Of course, it helps when your captain is the spark you need.
“It was a huge two points,” Quenneville said. “I liked the way we competed right from the start of training camp and going into these games here — a lot of good character things. When you get your captain leading the charge like that, that sets the tone.”