Toews' hat trick boosts Blackhawks past Sens

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- With his team down 4-2 midway through the second period and his teammates struggling to find the net, Jonathan Toews did what any good team captain would do: He took it upon himself to get his club back in gear.

The Chicago Blackhawks center went on to score three consecutive goals for a natural hat trick, and teammate Andrew Shaw scored the game-winner as the Blackhawks rallied to beat the pesky Ottawa Senators 6-5 Tuesday at the United Center.

"We didn't play very well in our building last time we were here (a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday), so we wanted to improve off that," Toews said. "We know that was a hungry team over there. They played pretty well, obviously created a lot of offense. Some moments tonight we gave up a little bit too much, but we found a way to come back."

The hat trick was the third of Toews' career and his first since Nov. 17, 2010, against the Oilers in Edmonton.

"Jonny had a special game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "If you're a fan and you watched him play tonight, you're going to go, 'Wow, that was a special performance.' ... That was one of those performances as a fan that you get to see and you'll remember it."

Toews has five goals and three assists in the Blackhawks' past five games. He is tied with Patrick Kane for the team goal-scoring lead, each with seven, and he leads Chicago (8-2-3) with 13 points -- seven goals, six assists.

However, it was Shaw's second goal of the game and third of the season at 14:10 of the third period that proved to be the deciding goal.

Ottawa (4-6-2) came right back 13 seconds later with Zack Smith's third goal of the season, but the Senators ultimately suffered their third consecutive loss.

If there were a bright spot in such a tough defeat, Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said, it was that his team scored five goals on the road against the Stanley Cup champions.

Shaw bookended Chicago's scoring, giving his team an early lead with his second goal of the season on the power play, tipping in a shot from Patrick Sharp past Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson at 6:54 of the first period.

The goal was originally credited to Sharp, but a lengthy review of video prompted officials to credit to Shaw with the tally.

Ottawa's Milan Michalek scored his third goal of the season to tie the game at 1 with exactly one minute to play in the opening frame.

Ottawa's offensive onslaught continued in the second period, with a power-play goal at 6:51 by Kyle Turris (second of season) that gave the Senators the lead for the first time.

"We played well for the first two (periods)," Turris said. "The third period wasn't the game we wanted to play."

Chicago bounced right back 50 seconds later when Marian Hossa slipped a perfect pass from Toews past Anderson to tie the game at 2. It was Hossa's fifth goal of the season and 100th career tally as a member of the Blackhawks (the 439th of his NHL career).

Ottawa went ahead 4-2 midway through the second period on goals by Joe Corvo (first) and a minute later by Mika Zibanejad (second).

Quenneville pulled goalie Nikolai Khabibulin after Zibanejad's goal and brought in regular Corey Crawford, who was supposed to have the night off.

"Tough game," Quenneville said of Khabibulin, who stopped 18 of 22 shots.

Crawford, on the other hand, was outstanding, saving 14 of 15 shots for his seventh win of the season.

"He was great," Quenneville said of Crawford. "I don't know if we even pulled a goalie last year. Coming into that situation is remarkable, and I give him a lot of credit by keeping us (close) and solidifying our hopes."

Crawford's insertion sparked the Blackhawks, who scored just over three minutes later. Toews grabbed a loose puck behind the Senators net, wrapped around and stuck it past Anderson, who was caught out of position.

Toews scored his second goal of the game 1:20 into the third period, knotting the score at 4, and then added his encore at 9:13 to put the Hawks ahead 5-4.

"I thought we controlled a lot of play early in the game, but once we got the game to 4-2 and they changed the goalie, they seemed to get lots of momentum," MacLean said. "We didn't handle, obviously, the change in momentum very well. They put lots of pressure on us; we didn't handle that very well. We turned over pucks, and I think we gave them a lot of easy goals that we could've made them work way harder for."

NOTES: The attendance was 21,123. While it still extended the Blackhawks' home sellout record to 235 consecutive games, it was also the smallest crowd of the season at the United Center. ... Khabibulin made the 798th appearance of his NHL career. ... Ottawa's last win at the United Center was March 28, 2001. ... Blackhawks D Michal Rozsival remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. ... Chicago is 7-0-2 against Eastern Conference teams and 7-1-3 when outshooting their opponent. The Blackhawks now embark on a stretch in which their next 18 games will be against fellow Western Conference teams. ... Ottawa plays seven of its next eight games at home.
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