Jonathan Toews Crushes The Wild – Again

The last time the Blackhawks were in St. Paul, Jonathan Toews had himself a game. Chicago’s captain had one goal and two assists as the Blackhawks overcame questionable officiating to beat the Wild 4-3 in overtime.

Three point night? Nice. But Toews had more in store for the Wild on Tuesday.

It didn’t take long for the Wild to take this week’s Central Division rivalry game to a playoff level.
Right off the opening faceoff, Minnesota immediately got into the offensive zone. Trevor van Riemsdyk was able to break up the play before a shot could be put on net, but the intensity was clear right out of the gate.

From there, the shots favored the Hawks but the play showed the Wild having better scoring chances. Corey Crawford and Devan Dubnyk were on point in the opening period as the two teams combined to put 29 shots on net; Chicago was credited with 15 to Minnesota’s 14.

In the second period, Toews reminded the Western Conference that – when he’s healthy and has two consistent, productive linemates – he is a very scary proposition.

Less than one minute into the second period, Toews imposed his will on the game and opened the scoring. Chicago’s captain won a board battle, got the puck out to a shooter and planted himself in front of the net. From there, he jammed home his 13th goal of the year to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

At 3:08, Niklas Hjalmarsson went to the box for hooking and Minnesota converted. Well, Duncan Keith nearly converted as he almost tipped a rebound through Crawford. Crawford stopped the initial shot and Keith’s rebound, but wasn’t able to keep a Mikael Granlund poke out of the net. At 4:20 into the second, the game was tied.

But Toews wasn’t having it. On his next shift, he created another goal by simply refusing to lose. This time, Richard Panik was on the scoring end.

The Hawks held a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes, but the stories were the performances of Toews and Dubnyk. Minnesota’s netminder was absolutely superb against 28 shots in the first two periods, keeping the Wild in the game in the face of a furious second period from Chicago’s offensive attack. The Blackhawks out-shot the Wild 13-15 in the second period.

After generating a goal in the first minute of the second period, Toews was right back at it to open the third.

Chicago’s captain won an offensive zone faceoff and Nick Schmaltz unloaded from the point for his fifth of the season. The Blackhawks led 3-1, and each member of the Toews line had a goal 33 seconds into the third period.

After a couple more strong shifts from the Toews line, Minnesota brought it. Chicago failed to score on a power play and the Wild carried the momentum of the kill into a couple good scoring opportunities. At 6:41, Zach Parise redirected a Marco Scandella shot past Crawford to cut the Blackhawks lead to 3-2.

Jonathan Toews wasn’t done, though.

This time, however, it was Schmaltz making a pretty play to set up the Captain for his second goal and fourth point of the game.

Tanner Kero went to the box just under 13 minutes into the third and Minnesota once again took advantage. Crawford made a couple fantastic saves but couldn’t settle the puck down and Granlund scored his second power play goal of the night to draw the Wild back to within one with less than seven minutes left in regulation.

The two teams traded terrific chances over the next five minutes until a desperate Wild team pulled Dubnyk for an extra attacker. The Wild kept the pressure on but a loose puck found Toews about 10 feet in front of Crawford and the Hawks’ captain calmly flipped the puck the length of the ice into the empty net.

In another big time game in Minnesota against the first place Wild, Toews had a hat trick in a five-point night. Schmaltz had a three-point night (one goal, two assists) and Panik added an assist to his goal as that line produced all of the offense for the Blackhawks.

Toews now has eight points in his last two games in Minnesota.

For Minnesota, Dubnyk played much better than a 5-3 final score would indicate. He stopped 34 of 38 in the game to keep his teammates in the game. In the win, Crawford made 29 saves against 32 shots. Niklas Hjalmarsson led Chicago with four blocked shots.

Toews, Schmaltz and Panik combined to put 15 shots on net in the game (five each). Patrick Kane’s six led the Hawks. The chemistry of that line is:

72 thoughts on “Jonathan Toews Crushes The Wild – Again

  1. what on Earth is Wall going to complain about now? Crawford was good, Toews isn’t overpaid any more, TvR is playing well, 4 lines are rolling… so much confusion for the pessimist crowd!

  2. Toews is on fire lately ….and i think Schmaltz is probably one of the reason …Panik continue to do is job …and the Hawks won another good game …Going to Rock was really good for Schmaltz …and aince he came Back …he makes big play …good timing to start getting some points from them ..with + or -20 games before the playoff …perfect timing …Love my Hawks …

  3. Great game by the captain. Just overall a fun game to watch. Both teams if/when they meet in the playoffs it’s gonna be a great series.

  4. Schmaltz points in 5 of last 6.

    Top line hopefully fixed. No need for a trade. Saw Gabby change his pairings to combat that line.

    Pk is the only thing lacking.

  5. Enjoying watching the fourth line forechecking and creating havoc. They seem to be surprising opponents in the offensive zone consistently with their speed and spacing. Love Hartman, but hats off to Kero. He has been a pleasant addition.

  6. Good

    4th line


    Kruger/Moose- Neuter Hossa ( and I really like both 16/70)… but only as a true checking line- not with Hoss

    Tab- I am actually a TvR fan… he had a couple of bad games recently… but I think he is a super under-rated player with ++ instincts , and plays better than his talent level… like Kruger as a Center.

    Now if SB can land a true 3rd C (Hanzel/Boyle type) or a Palat/Tatar to slot on 3LW with Hossa… Hawks would look even better- of course what is the cost?

  7. reminder: “Take a look at your paycheck #19… Be proud of what you did in past… and Happy- ( no shame in winning Cups and Making fat stacks)… but you could have signed for about $1.5M less…” – yup, that’s a Wall-strodamus nugget of genius.

    re: “Now if SB can land a true 3rd C”
    Since Jan. 17 –
    Kero – 7 pts in 14 games + 45.3% at the dot (128 fo) & 18 blocked shots. 24 yrs old. $667,500 cap hit.
    Hanzal – 9 pts in 12 games + 61.4% at the dot (277 fo) & 16 blocked shots. 30 yrs old. $3.1M cap hit.
    Boyle – 7 pts in 14 games + 59.8% at the dot (92 fo) & 8 blocked shots. 32 yrs old. $2M cap hit.

    All 3 free agents after this season. One of them might have a future in Chicago – and wouldn’t cost any assets to give up.

    Meanwhile, “sell sell sell” Wall is now on the buy bandwagon. Windy City indeed

  8. 13 of 16 is 81.3 percent. The flyers are 16th in pk at 81.3%. Still better than what they are at. They are now 13 of 18. Good for 72.2%… which is still bad. Couple of fluke goals on the kill no doubt. But the goals are still going in

  9. Compared to Desjardins and Tootoo, Kruger & Rasmussen are Bossy & Trottier. However, that’s not relevant. They are a concern come playoff time, Hossa is stuck playing 12 mins b/c “Bossy & Trottier” aren’t cutting it.

    The Hawks are still the team to beat in the West; that being said, an upgrade over Rasmussen at minimum is needed.

  10. Very good game. A truly fine 60 minute effort … for the 3rd game in a row. PK still stinks and we have trouble winning draws in the d-zone on the PK, but other than that a pretty entertaining win over a very good team.

    I wonder if that shoulder to the head against the glass that Koivu gave Kane early in the game may have thrown Kane off his game a little. He didn’t handle the puck as well as he usually does. I didn’t see a replay so I can’t be sure but it sure looked like in was penalty worthy because it looked like the point of contact was the head. Hopefully Kaner is OK.

    Congrats Q on #400 with the Hawks.

  11. Thought Duncs was really good tonight which is another great sign. Schmalz’s upside is very high, what a great pass to Toews. I am a big Kero fan. He does a lot of things well and is someone that works very hard at his craft which leads me to believe he will continue to improve at the dot. Nice to send the Wild to their bye week looking in the rear view mirror to see a semi bearing down on them!

  12. COMPULSION to spend at the trade deadline? REALLY? WHY??

    OK…”depth” – Rozsival, Desjardins, Tootoo. HOPEFULLY, they don’t have to leave the pressbox. An upgrade here would be a good thing, but DO NOT OVERpay!!! Maybe Motte or Pokka, or *whoever* is a cost-free upgrade? In my opinion, unless they really SUCK from this point forward, there is NO need to change/add-to the group has been playing (really pretty well).

    GO HAWKS!!

  13. Very true Tab we had to listen to Wall over and over talk about how great Fabbri is and how the Hawks made a mistake taking 8. I know its still early but 8 looks pretty dam good on the 1st line with 19 and to those that doubted 19 I don’t know what to say to you, never doubt a champion. Toews has won at every level for a reason and made the top 100 players for a reason.

  14. I’ve learned a long ago to not say this team is sunk-they make you regret those words. They have this ability to re-establish their game and go on a role. They MUST be healthy (same for all good teams) and this year they will be hungry.
    I would add only for depth and would like to see if Motte develops.

    Stars 56 points in 60 (out) and Kings 62 in 59 (sinking quickly) Wow!

  15. Great 60 from all 4 lines. Schmaltz is coming into form and it’s a beautiful thing to see him and the Captain work the magic out there! D was also very good last night and Crow made a ton of great saves. I agree PK is a little concerning but confident that will come around as well. Go Hawks!

  16. No – I am still in the sell camp… by myself…
    I am just guessing at what Stan will do… Not what I would do…

    As stated before- I would sell- at the market high – TDL versus this summer…
    and Build an even greater chance to win Cup next season.

    And IF SB buys a shiny new toy rental… of course the team should be better… no news there… But- It is NOT what I would do.

    Regarding Panik- I have said this too… really like his game… If he could learn to cycle and protect the puck… he would be so much better… well – looks like he went to same school Stalberg- was sent to… cuz Stals sucked at it too- when he first played for Hawks… 2 years later – he was actually pretty good at it.


  17. Your star players need to play big roles in important games. Toews is one of those guys that proved it last night. Sure it’s getting into late Feb and it’s not playoffs, but we should all just take time to be proud to have 19 as the Cpt. He leads by example. You don’t fade Johnny Toews.

    I was quite taken a back last year and early this year to read such negativity and lack of trust in this special player. I still believe that wear and tear took a mighty toll on many of the Hawks core players, especially Toews. Throw in a nagging injury, and frustration that makes players press harder and achieve less, all these things factor in.

    Toews said it well last night after the game about how a few goals going in and some success playing with a certain line helps build confidence. That was Toews telling the truth about how his confidence had been shaken earlier this year and how he now has it back.

    Speaking of confidence, Schmaltz is just brimming with it. Did you see the OMG looks on his face last night? That kid is in heaven right now, scoring goals, dishing pretty assists, creating free space when he has the puck, and those fast hands sure help with takeaways. 8 is really starting to feel it playing with the Cpt. and is just starting to bloom. Well done SB!

    Kero line was a thorn in the side of the Wild last night. Those guys gave it all. I think we have a lineup now to get used to looking ahead to playoffs.

    Apart from maddening giveaways that gave the Wild freebie chances, Hawks played a pretty damn solid game. The will was there all down the lineup starting with Toews.

    Crow was fantastic and Dubnyk as well. Alot of quality chances at both ends of the ice. It is fair to say that this Hawks-Wild games are extremely entertaining contests for both the players and the fans.

    I think Dumba had Toews nightmares last night.

    Refs let Wild especially Granlund get away with alot in the last few minutes of the game. That early hit Koivu dealt Kane was a head shot and it looked like he got his elbow up a bit too.

    Wild forecheck in the 1st was world class shut down stuff, but they could not sustain it. This is a good team that will be very dangerous in the playoffs. BB though tends to overplay his #1 goalies for playoff burnout. Dubnyk has logged some big minutes. Wild players know the Hawks will be a very tough ticket down the road.

    Hawks train is rolling, all aboard.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  18. Tab- if 19 signs for $1.5M less… Hawks/SB has more money to pass around… therefore- better chance of winning CUPS…

    How is any of that statement false?

    Someone the other day told me that M. Jordan wasn’t even the highest paid player on his team until near end of his Bulls run…

    yes- I know- MJ made a shit ton from endorsements…
    point is- $80M or $70M…
    if it’s me… I take the pathetic $70M and increase my chances of another cup by lots.

  19. Leave the roster as is. Let the chemistry marinate rather than adding new pieces. These lines come playoff time are going to be relentless.

  20. The problem with taking less than market value is you set precedent for other players. Between federal and state taxes they’re looking at 45% of their income going out the door. Nearly 5 million. Plus you have to remember escrow money which players may or may not see again either is set around 20%. So yeah, don’t tell me you would have taken less. Nobody has shown you paper that has that on it.

    Regarding Jordan, he made 33 million in one year. Still the highest to date , but Lebron may break that this year. If you also want to argue that Jordan took less. You may also want to factor in he and the Bulls had a long standing contract dispute. So he may have been paid less, but he wasn’t happy about it.

  21. Wall – the ultimate foil, well played.

    I hesitate to anoint Schmaltz the answer to the missing top-6 LW question because he’s a rookie with only 41 games in the NHL. We know from experience rookies often hit a wall and often their play is marked with inconsistency – it’s just what you get from players adjusting to the highest level of play and the longest season they’ve ever played.

    But, even with that trepidation, I think I’ve come around to believe there is a more pressing need that Tazer’s LW – a PK faceoff winning centerman. If I had to identify the one area that troubles me the most heading toward the playoffs it is the PK. While we can make excuses that the season PK percentage is mostly influenced by the unprecedented ineptitude of the first 8 games of the season, we also must acknowledge it still isn’t very good. Maybe some goals given up lately could be considered the fluky kind but they still went in and there’s no evidence to suggest the PK is getting appreciably better. The one area that could have an immediate positive impact would be winning the faceoff and clearing the d-zone with more regularity than is presently the case. Kruger used to be that guy but he isn’t taking many faceoffs lately, for whatever reason.

    So … long dissertation to say – hope Stan picks up Hanzel or Boyle of someone else who could win draws and help our woeful PK.

  22. Great game. Nice to keep some pressure on Minnesota for the last 20 games.

    I still don’t understand Tab and comments regarding Toews. Toews is now playing great and worth top dollars.

    If we all agree that he is now playing great then what was he doing for the playoffs last year and the first 40 games of this year? Clearly, not playing well.

    When he plays well, he gets praise. When he doesn’t play well he gets and deserves criticism. Simple if you’re rational.

  23. Schmaltz has become the wild card. The good news is his play. The not as good news is that he is likely to start wearing down (he’s used to playing 40 game seasons and he’s not a tank like Saad). On the surface it’s a tough question for Stan, but I think the answer’s not that hard. There isn’t anyone available who would clearly put us over the top (there never is though) so any addition is depth only (and if the asking prices are too high then just go with what we’ve already got). I still like Alex Burrows as a guy with a good playoff pedigree (good on PK too) who might be picked up at a decent price (and just for the record he can play both sides and was recently playing LW with Horvat and Hansen).

  24. @jordy – I’ll be blunt: The list of players I would want on this team less than Burrows is incredibly short. He’s a troll whose game has fallen off without his salary matching the decline. Couldn’t pass on the player any harder. No. Thank. You.

  25. Toews has reclaimed his spot as the best overall player/leader in the NHL. The chemistry between 19 &8 is fun to watch. The Kanelike pass from Schmaltz to Toews that led to a tap in was a thing of beauty. We are starting to see the reason why Stan moved up in the draft to pick Schmaltz ahead of St. Louis. It is amazing what a team can do with four effective lines. I would rather see Mott than Moose. I noticed in the third period Minny was only using 3 lines. If the Hawks can stay healthy a meeting with the Caps is possible.

  26. Jordyhawk- I see no indication that Schmaltz is starting to wear down. In fact he looks stronger on his skates and much more confident. Burrows has 1/2 the offensive skill set of #8.

  27. @tab: I stated my reasons for thinking he would be a good pickup earlier so no need to repeat them. He is very dislikeable, no question. His game however, has been good recently (I have watched him) and that, combined with a good playoff track record is generating interest around him (he is UFA too, so no baggage either). You don’t agree–no problem. Let’s watch and see where he goes and how he does.

  28. @1961: I agree, Schmaltz looks awesome. Now. But he is used to playing much shorter seasons and the grind is going to get a lot, lot heavier. Having more depth is a consideration.

  29. re: Burrows – “good playoff track record” including 3 game appearances since 2013…. His 9 goals this season would make him a 3rd line player in Chicago. Again, pass. Not worth whatever assets it would take to get him here.

  30. There is no need to do anything at the trade deadline. We won’t enter the playoffs as the cup favorite but certainly are a tough draw with a chip and a chair. More valuable to me then a deadline deal would be getting some young players big time experience so moving forward we know what we got when the big lights go on.

  31. Zatkoff on waivers. Pick him up to put him in the minors? His deal runs through next year at 900k. Can bury the full amount if need be

  32. re: Patrick Eaves – like the player, but why do the Hawks need him? He’s a popular name on a tire fire team… not sure the Hawks need to get in a bidding war inside the division.

  33. Come on ER, what’s wrong with having a hair pulling, finger biting weasel Canucklehead on the team??

    The horror…

    Lets Go Hawks!

  34. Although I think SB will ad a forward at the deadline just for depth, I want this team to stand pat. I like this group of players. The youngsters are starting to learn the NHL game and the vets are pacing themselves very well.

    We all new that Tazer was nursing an injury and that he would get his game back, eventually. Now we need Panarin to get his touch back and I think it is just a matter of time before he gets back on track.

    The Hawks will go through one more small slump before kicking it in gear for the playoff run. Suddenly, every team in the division is raising an eyebrow at the Hawks and asking the magical question, “can they do it again”?

  35. I would take a flyer on drew miller for depth at wing could help on pk if need be good speed and will cost nothing. Defense wise trade for a dman like Polak or Hunwick for depth.
    Depth Forwards
    Hunwick or Polak w/ Rosival/Forsling
    Not terrible can upgrade at center but a solid team with a chance.

  36. re: Drew Miller – what precisely does he bring that Andrew Desjardins doesn’t? Hard pass. Again.

    Roman Polak is actually an intriguing name. But w/ Toronto in a playoff hunt it’s hard to see them moving a veteran leader off their blue line.

  37. Alex Burrows…that has to be a joke…?

    For whatever reason the long ago sound clip of the old Bulls coach Tim Floyd sarcastically, with great inflection, asking ‘Mike Miller?’ comes to mind.

    Anyone remember that?

    Alex Burrows?

  38. Great game to watch. Great to see the Blackhawks respond to all of the intensity that Minnesota came out with to start. You knew it would be a 60 minute battle and the Blackhawks rose to the challenge and then some.
    Loved seeing how the team worked to win puck battles, and no taking the foot off the gas. The Captain came through with plenty of supporting help. Playoff-like intensity …. a hard fought game but not exceedingly physical and not a ton of penalties. Good type of game for the young guys to get under their belts as there could be a number of them like this once the playoffs start.
    Go Blackhawks!!!

  39. Wow, Minnesota is good.

    Double wow, the Hawks beat them handily, on the road. By eye test, stats, and on the board. Very encouraging.

    So a pickpocket and a wrecking ball seem to complement Toews’ possession game quite well. If Panik and Schmaltz can keep progressing, we have 2.5 lines that can score. That’s enough to make a run.

    Potential trade target is a 3rd line FW to pair with Hossa, or a 1st line FW and slide Schmaltz or Panik down. Hopefully that gives us 3 full, legitimate scoring line threats.

  40. Toews now has 42 points in 51 games. More than Anisimov in fewer games…with more defensive responsibilities

    He’s back!

  41. Dunlop, thats the same thing I am thinking. Adding a depth FW and maybe D is fine. Every young guy can still play and get to see what we got in those guys for future/the coming yrs by having depth FW where 70/11 is.

    Faceoffs would be good for PK and to just have 2 guys at 55% or better again. Since Krugs hurt his arm he hasnt been 55 (which he was every yr since 1st yr when at 45) hes 50 so other guys can do 50 thats why there taking faceoffs instead. They were doing that before Krugs hurt arm recently. Who are every FW that could be available that are really good at faceoffs.

  42. Wait. I thought the hawks had to be sellers at the trading deadline. I thought the east was too strong and the hawks had no chance. I guess all the naysayers were wrong especially the head clown.

    Oh yea and the head clown puts both the bread man and Panik in the negative column recently because they’re doing too good! Of course if they were doing poorly he’d complain about that instead! LOL.

  43. Travis …tell me …why change a winning line…Panik, Schmaltz Toews …i dont understand ? ..that line is the best line for the last 4-5-6 games and getting better ..why change a winning combination ?? ….??.?.??.?.?.?.??.?.?.?.??.?.?.?.?.?.?.?.?.?.?.?

  44. Its working well for Bread Man not getting as may goals/pts for this stretch. Not sure if 1st line guys and 81 could get a high enough +- which would be another .212 or so. That would be huge for salary cap not getting those players bonuses. Other teams having their top pair and best checking line guys against the 2nd line. That 1.75m is a big diff. in cap space for coming yrs as we load up for coming yrs.

  45. That’s the difference between you and me Ernie. I’m totally comfortable with what I posted about him and couldn’t care less if anyone agrees. TSN has him rated as the 18th best available trade bait so we’ll see how he does this spring.

  46. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate your view on him and admire that you’ve stuck by your opinion. Some can’t get past the hair pulling crap from almost 10 years ago. I just don’t think he has enough left in the tank that he’s worth the cap hit and assets Vancouver would want. It’s not worth disrupting the chemistry in the locker room.

  47. 1961 – agree re: Motte in for Rasmussen.

    Better yet, who would you rather have for the playoffs, Brian Boyle w/ 13 goals, kills penalties, plays center, takes faceoffs, gritty, etc…. or Rasmussen (or Kruger and all of his two goals, and he’s not taking faceoffs anymore) playing w/ Hossa? This is the player to go after, his cap hit is only $2M. He knows what a long playoff run is all about, he won’t cost as much as Vermette did, slightly more than Handzus did. If they don’t go after a D-man, this is the player that assists in scheduling Parade IV.

  48. I know people here aren’t high on Rasmussen (can’t skate, lack of offense) but he’s effectively replaced Desjardins on PK this year and will likely replace Kruger on PK next year. Motte is a nice player who will slot into the rotation at some point soon, but there’s no room for him at this point and it ain’t broke.

    re: Brian Boyle – love the player. But why would a team with playoff aspirations (who just shut down Callahan for the year) trade their best defensive center?

    As we throw trade ideas out there, remember it has to make sense for the other team, too. And I just don’t see the Lightning being motivated to move Boyle this season.

  49. Boyle is an UFA I believe, Yzerman will have to decide if he thinks TBay can make a legitimate playoff run (assuming he thinks they will definitely make the playoffs to begin w/) thru the East; Wash, Pitt, NYR & Mont are all clearly better on paper and the eye test than TBay so far… so is it better for TBay to get a decent return on Boyle now or roll the dice and let him go for nothing…. Hmmmm.

  50. @Ernie: Fair enough and to your point I agree with you that the risk is not what he can bring but what’s left in the tank (I just think he still has some left although there is no dispute he is on the downside).

  51. The Lightning are hoping to have Stamkos back soon. Could be a Kane like scenario. They’ve got some leapfrogging to do. But it can be done. As we’ve seen, just gotta make it in.

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