Toews Finds Consistency In Hawks’ Loss
by Scott King
Jonathan Toews opened up the scoring for Tuesday’s 2015 Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Blackhawks and Lightning at the United Center. Around the midway point of the first period Ryan Hartman made a nice play to steal the puck in the offensive zone and feed it to Toews who was parked in front of Tampa’s net.
Later in the first, Lightning forward Brian Boyle beat Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith before getting one past Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford to make it 1-1.
Toews also picked up a secondary assist on a Duncan Keith goal near the start of the second period which made it 2-1 Hawks.
After a four point night Sunday at home vs. the Vancouver Canucks, the captain has six points in his last two games.
“I think he plays the same way every night, whether he’s producing or not,” said Hawks forward Patrick Kane. “Great play on the goal by all three of them. Hartsy (Ryan Hartman) picking off the pass, then a nice little give-and-go there.
“I think that’s something we can do more as a team is get to the net like he did on that play. Maybe some things will open up around it. For a couple straight nights he’s got it going on for sure.”
Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov made it 2-2 2:47 into the third period.
Tyler Johnson made it 3-2 Lightning with 13:46 remaining in the third period, then scored again 30 seconds later.
Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov later scored on the empty net marking four unanswered Lightning goals in the third period and a 5-2 regulation loss for the Hawks.
“We can’t be letting games like that slip away,” Toews said. “I think the talk for a long time has been starting games better, and I think we’ve been seeing that.
“Obviously if we’re in the right spot, we’re in the driver’s seat going into third periods with the lead, whether it’s one goal or more than that. We [have] to find ways to play better. A team like that, we know especially with their speed, they’re going to come hard and I guess the finish wasn’t there tonight.”
The Blackhawks were 78-0-5 when leading after two periods since the 2014-2015 season before Tuesday’s regulation loss (16-0-1 this season).
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