Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews, Stave Off Elimination With 4-1 Win Over Detroit Red Wings

2013 NHL Playoffs
2013 NHL Playoffs
May 25 2013 Chicago IL USA Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews 19 is defended by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith 2 during the first period in game five of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center Rob Grabowski USA TODAY Sports

Down 3-1 to the seventh seeded Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks bounced back in a big way on Saturday night. The offense finally returned, after scoring just two goals in three straight losses, and so did Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who finally beat Jimmy Howard to end a long and frustrating scoring draught.

14 minutes into the opening period, Blackhawks defenseman Bryan Bickell charged down the ice to fire a backhand shot. As Howard made the save and Patrick Kane clanged the rebound chance off the post, Bickell swooped around the back of the goal to put himself in perfect position to one-time the puck into an empty net, giving the Blackhawks the lead.

Midway through the second, Corey Crawford turned away a point-blank chance from Henrik Zetterberg only to see Daniel Cleary put home the rebound for his second goal in two games. The Blackhawks would regain the lead less than five minutes later when Andrew Shaw wildly redirected a Duncan Keith slapper into the back of the net.

Two minutes later came redemption for Toews. After costing his team with a number of bad penalties in Game 4, Toews received the puck in the corner and banked it off of Jimmy Howard’s mask to score from a seemingly impossible angle. The relief on his face was tangible, as he returned to the bench knowing that the chase for his second career cup was not about to end.

In the third period, Andrew Shaw put an end to proceedings when he curled around the net to tuck home a Viktor Stalberg shot that bounced off the boards. Shaw’s second goal of the game made it 4-1 and guaranteed that the series would return to Hockeytown for a sixth game.

The Blackhawks outshot their opponents 45-26 as they finally managed to put a few behind the still strong Jimmy Howard. Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook each put seven pucks on net, with both failing to score. If the Red Wings allow their opponents to put 40 on net in Game 6, they could lose hold of the series.

The Chicago Blackhawks finally displayed a confidence that has been absent from their game for much of the series, thanks primarily to Jonathan Toews. The 25-year-old captain sets the tone in the Blackhawks dressing room and his success should lead to further team success.

With the Blackhawks finally bouncing back, Mike Babcock and the Red Wings will hope to end the series at Joe Louis Arena on Monday. If Henrik Zetterberg and the Wings can’t clinch the series at home, all bets are off for a seventh game back in Chicago. Much of the pressure on Monday will fall on Jimmy Howard, who has allowed just one goal at home in the series. If he can stand tall, the Red Wings still have the inside track to advance.

If not, the Blackhawks could come back from the brink and avoid the fate of so many disappointing President’s Trophy winners before them.

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Chris Blanchard
Chris Blanchard is a Boston, MA native and a student at Davidson College. He began writing about hockey as a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report in the fall of 2012. He has been covering the NHL for XN Sports since May of 2013. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');