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Toews is glue on surging Blackhawks

05/19/2010 12:31 PM - From (link)

SAN JOSE, Calif. --
Jonathan Toews' power-play goal roughly halfway through Game 2 wound up as winner in the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-2 victory at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. The captain also added an assist on Dustin Byfuglien's goal 90 seconds earlier, and now has points in 11 consecutive games. He leads the NHL with 16 assists and 23 points.

The line of Toews, Byfuglien and
Patrick Kane is now being considered by many pundits to be the best in the NHL. Byfuglien was obviously the missing piece -- and he has six goals in the last six games. But Toews is the glue, and he showed it again in Game 2.

Toews, sitting next to Kane at the podium following the victory that put the Hawks up 2-0 in the Western Conference Final, touched on his play as well as that of several other Hawks, including
Dave Bolland, in his press conference.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: At various times you've had to be a shut-down center. Talk about how difficult a role that can be to fill and the quality of job that David Bolland specifically and that line are doing against a pretty good line (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley)?

Toews: "They've been a huge part of our success, against all three teams we played so far. They don't sell themselves short. They know they can play smart defense and frustrate the line they happen to be up against. They've always found a way of taking advantage of some scoring opportunities. It was a big goal by Ladder (
Andrew Ladd) to get us going tonight. Great job by them. We need them to keep that up."

Q: You have 11-game point streak in the post-season, which ties a franchise record.  What do you think is going so well for you right now?

Toews: "Well, you know, I don't even really think about scoring. You want to kill penalties, you want to play with energy and create as much as you can in the offensive zone when that happens to be your role. I've gone into these games focused on working hard. A lot of offense has just clicked."

Q: On your goal it looked like Buff was also in front of net. On Buff's goal you were in front of the net. How key is it to have the extra man there?

Toews: "It's great. Buff is a big body. It's nice to go to the net, have that success when he's creating a lot of traffic and good screens in front of the goaltender. Kane is out in the open ice dangling around while we're in front picking up the garbage. It's nice. We'll take them any way we can. Tonight we got a couple ugly ones in front of the net. If we keep doing things right the way we have, we'll keep having success."

Q: You guys got the best-case scenario, two wins in two games here. How do you prepare for Game 3 and guard against a letdown?

Toews: "I think we can totally forget about these two games and really try and redeem ourselves at home. That's the motivation. We know we haven't done near what we want to do at home. So we'll motivate ourselves that way and get really pumped and excited about playing back at the United Center. We're really happy about having a 2-0 lead.  That's great for us. We're not used to being in this situation. We'll take advantage of it and focus on what is to come."

Q: You guys tied the record for consecutive road wins. How do you explain the success on the road?

Toews: "Just haven't taken anything for granted. We go into these games putting all the pressure on the other team. We go out there and play loose, play hard, simple, the right way. You see in some of these games, it's a recurring trend, I think, where we start out, maybe have a 1-0 lead, we're down a goal or two coming out of the first period, whatever it is, we've found a way to stick with it and really be patient. We feel that we've kind of slowly taken over these games eventually in the third period. It's the right way to play on the road. But, you know, we want to keep that simple mentality when we go home. We'll be excited to play, but it doesn't mean we have to go out there and get flashy and make the big plays in front of our own fans. Still want to keep it simple and work for that offensive success we've had on the road, as well."

Q: They talked about tying up your sticks more than moving you guys out from the front. Has it been a little bit easier to get there compared to the first two series?

Toews: "I don't think so. They've got big, strong D-men, guys that can skate, that are smart positionally. We've had to work to get in front of that net. I think looking at these past two games, there's still much more we can do to get there, whether it's getting rebounds or just trying to test their goaltender a little more often."

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