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Three Stars: Toews Racks Up Four Points in Big Blackhawks Win

The Hawks pick up their first win of the circus trip behind the captain's four point night

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Three Stars: Toews Leads the Way in Hawks Win

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Jonathan Toews #19 and Patrick Kane #88 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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With Marian Hossa returning to the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup on Thursday night, it was a reasonable expectation to think that the Hawks would look much smoother on offense, but no one was quite expecting the effort they put up against the Winnipeg Jets. Six different Hawks scored in the game, and the Blackhawks ended up riding a huge final 40 minutes to a 6-3 victory at MTS Centre.

Jonathan Toews racked up four points in the game, and Hossa himself ended up with the game winning goal in the third period. With those guys leading the way, here are our Three Stars:

Third Star: Patrick Kane

Kane extended his point streak to nine games with a goal and an assist in this game, and while his goal was the highlight of his nearly 20 minutes of ice time, it was the manner in which he scored it that stood out.

On the play, the Hawks were getting set up on a second period power play. They managed to get good traffic to the front of the net (always a stated strategy by Joel Quenneville and his coaching staff), but Kane did the right thing in patiently holding onto the puck and waiting for an opening to shoot through. He got just that opening when Dustin Byfuglien pinched in to the front of the net to take care of Shaw, and Kane found an open seam between the dots.

As he got into position, Byfuglien slid ever so slightly into the middle of the ice, and Kane took full advantage, shooting to the far post and burying the shot in the corner of the net to give the Hawks the 1-0 lead.

It was another great example of Kane’s ability to take advantage of open space on the ice, but it was also an example of the tremendous patience that he has shown in his game to maximize that open space when he gets it.

Second Star: Marian Hossa

Hossa’s two points in his first game back from a lower body injury were certainly a good sign to Hawks fans, but it was the way in which he picked up his assist in the game that showed that he is still in full control of his powers despite missing three games.

In that sequence, drove into the corner of the offensive zone to track down a loose puck. He was quickly joined there by Olli Jokinen and Zach Redmond, but then Hossa showed off a couple of his best tricks in a row. First off, he spun off the potential checks and was able to shield the puck with his body. He then used his open hand to push a stick check away from the puck, and all the while, his head was up and scanning the ice for a potential target to pass to.

He found that in the form of Brandon Saad, who flew into the picture suddenly and Hossa drilled a pass directly onto Saad’s stickblade. Saad flipped a one-timer past Pavelec to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead, and finished off what was one of the more remarkable plays that Hossa has pulled off this year.

First Star: Jonathan Toews

Toews’ homecoming to Winnipeg earlier this month was a great afternoon for the Hawks’ captain, but his performance on Thursday night was even more exquisite.

Toews picked up three assists in the game (including on the primary assist on both Hossa and Patrick Sharp’s goals in the game), but it was his goal in the second period that was his most mind-blowing play of the evening.

One of Toews’ greatest strengths is his ability to hold onto the puck under duress, and he showed that in spades in a board battle for the puck in the offensive zone. Facing off against defenseman Keaton Ellerby, Toews managed to not only corral the puck onto his stick, but he also used a great spin move to shed the check and gain inside position on the defenseman, and he immediately skated toward the front of the net. Ellerby couldn’t catch up with Toews, and he roofed a shot over Pavelec to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

The entire sequence was a display of Toews’ unique set of skills, and the Hawks’ captain really keyed the team’s effort to get off the skids after a bad game in Colorado.

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