Toews scores 2 to help Blackhawks beat Hurricanes 5-2
CHICAGO (AP) After practice the previous day, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said his teammates were capable of stepping up and ''filling the void'' created by the loss of injured leading scorer Patrick Kane.
Then he went out and led by example Monday night.
Toews had two goals and assisted on Marian Hossa's score as the Blackhawks rolled to a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Brandon Saad scored his 20th to reach that mark for the first time in his career and Marcus Kruger also connected for the Blackhawks, who have won three of their last four. Toews increased his total to 21 goals, trailing only Kane (27) for the team lead.
Toews, Hossa and Saad are among the Blackhawks' top offensive threats expected to pick up the slack with Kane out for 12 weeks.
''I don't think it's just the three of us,'' Toews said. ''I think as a team we all believe we can pitch here and there. It happened to be us tonight.''
Toews scored the game's first two goals - on breakaways - to get the Blackhawks rolling.
''I liked the way we started the game,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ''(Carolina's) got some guys who can make plays, and we got on the offensive side of things.''
Corey Crawford made 27 saves for Chicago and lost his bid for a second straight shutout when Carolina's John-Michael Liles scored at 4:29 of the third period. Alexander Semin also scored late in the third for the Hurricanes, whose three-game winning streak ended.
But for most of the game, the Blackhawks were in charge as they built a 4-0 lead.
''I thought tonight we were really fast moving the puck, and everyone was in synch,'' Crawford said. ''We really looked like our team tonight.''
Cam Ward allowed four goals on 18 shots through the first two periods for Carolina, and was replaced by Anton Khudobin to start the third. Khudobin stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
Carolina coach Bill Peters said his team came out flat after wins over Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Islanders.
''Tonight's game wasn't very good,'' Peters said. ''We've got to get back to playing with a better pace and better execution with the puck.''
Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, two of the three players acquired by the Blackhawks during a four-day run-up to Monday's trade deadline, made their debuts with Chicago.
Vermette, who came from sagging Phoenix in a deal on Saturday night for a first-round draft pick and defenseman prospect Klas Dahlbeck, was slotted on a line between Saad and Patrick Sharp.
''It's such a great feeling to come in and be on the right side of the game,'' Vermette said, ''It's a fun situation compared to what I was in.''
The 39-year-old Timonen had 17:29 of ice time in his first game since last April's playoffs with Philadelphia. He had been sidelined all season because of blood clots discovered in his leg and lungs last summer, and resumed skating just a few weeks ago.
The Blackhawks made the deals to shore up their roster heading into the playoffs without Kane, who underwent surgery to repair a broken left collarbone last Wednesday and is expected to miss 12 weeks.
Toews scored the only goal of the first period, finishing a breakaway with a rising shot past Ward's glove at 8:07.
Toews made it 2-0 with by capping a short-handed break with a shot under Ward's pads 44 seconds into the second. This time, Duncan Keith flipped a pass from center ice and Toews drove to the net.
The Blackhawks killed overlapping penalties to Sharp and Hossa - including a 5-on-3 Carolina advantage that lasted 1:14 - early in the second period.
''That was a crucial point in the game and unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on it,'' Liles said.
Saad extended the lead to 3-0 at 9:42 on a shot from the left circle after Carolina's Michal Jordan had blocked an initial attempt. The fourth-year left wing had scored 19 in each of his previous two seasons.
Kruger knocked in a rebound of Andrew Shaw's shot with 4:18 left in the second, making it 4-0.
Liles put Carolina on the board at 4 1/2 minutes into the third, beating Crawford from the left circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Andrej Nestrasil.
Set up by Toews, Hossa made it 5-1 on a wrist shot from the slot 3:26 later. Semin completed the scoring with 1:10 left.
NOTES: Toews has scored 20 or more goals in each if his eight NHL seasons. His lowest ouput was 23 in 47 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. He has three two-goal games this season. ... The Blackhawks acquired F Andrew Desjardins from San Jose for F Ben Smith in a swap of fourth-line players just hours before Monday's deadline. The Sharks also got a 2017 conditional pick. Desjardins is expected in Chicago on Tuesday. ... The Blackhawks and Hurricanes meet again on March 23 in Raleigh, N.C.