Toews' late goal lifts Blackhawks past Canucks

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[January 23, 2017]  CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews hasn't scored at the rate he has become accustomed to, but that hasn't diminished the confidence of the Chicago Blackhawks captain.

While Toews admits it's often difficult to resist the temptation to second-guess himself when the goals aren't coming, he knows his scoring touch can return when he least expects it -- and when it does, the points can come in bunches.

Toews scored a goal and had three assists and registered the game-winner with 1:18 remaining in the third period to lift the Blackhawks to a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at the United Center.

Toews snapped a 2-2 tie when a Richard Panik shot ricocheted off the back boards and found its way to Toews, who fired a shot into an empty net for only his eighth goal of the season.

"There's no doubt where (shots aren't) going in, it's a lot tougher and it's a bit of a mental battle," Toews said. "But for myself, it's just finding ways to create that feeling of the confidence goal-scoring gives you, even if they're not going in."

He certainly did that Sunday.

Toews, who finished with a season-high four points, tallied his final assist on Marian Hossa's empty-net goal that finished off the victory, the Blackhawks' third straight.

Corey Crawford made 26 saves for Chicago (30-14-5) and earned his 200th career victory -- thanks largely to Toews' production.

"He was great," Crawford said. "I mean, he's been playing well and we all know the level he can get to. He's maybe not been at that level so far, but you know we never doubt him in this room. He's one of our best players and he can turn it on."

Toews scored after the Canucks (22-20-6) knotted the game at two in in the third period with a pair of goals in 46 seconds. Troy Stecher got Vancouver on the board with a power-play goal that came just 10 seconds after Michal Kempny was called for a holding penalty. Stecher fired a shot through traffic and the puck glazed Crawford's glove before finding the net.

Bo Horvat drew the Canucks even when he rebounded his own shot that Crawford knocked down in front of the net, but couldn't secure. Horvat grabbed the puck and slid it past Crawford for the equalizer with just more than 14 minutes to play.

But even after Vancouver battled back, the Blackhawks never allowed the Canucks to maintain the momentum.

"I still thought we didn't get away from our game at that point, which could have happened," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Finding a way to get it to overtime or scoring a late goal tonight is something our guys have been good at. Jonny (Toews) was in the right spot with the finish."

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Former Chicago Blackhawks and NHL star Jeremy Roenick kisses the Blackhawks logo after being honored before the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Miller finished with 31 saves for the Canucks, who despite coming back found losing on a fortunate bounce tough to digest.

"Tonight, it was a game we could have had, but an unfortunate bounce cost us," center Henrik Sedin said.

The Blackhawks led 2-0 after the first period. Panik collected a pass from Brian Campbell and fired a one-timer past Miller to give Chicago an early lead. Campbell notched his 500th career point on the assist.

Patrick Kane extended the advantage later in the first when he fired a shot over Miller's shoulder and just under the crossbar after Toews -- who had the secondary assist on Panik's goal -- found Kane in the slot.

But Toews saved his best for the last, which propelled Chicago to its seventh win in its last nine games.

"It's fun to be a part of a win tonight and be part of the offense," Toews said. "(I'm) looking to try and continue that and use that confidence that comes with it."

NOTES: Canucks C Bo Horvat played Sunday two nights after being hit in the back of the head by a slapshot on Friday. Horvat told reporters at Sunday's morning skate that he's still sore and may explore playing with a bigger helmet. ... C Reid Boucher and D Jordan Subban were scratched. ... Blackhawks G Corey Crawford returned to the starting lineup after Scott Darling made 30 saves in a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins Friday. Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters at Sunday's morning skate he wanted to get Crawford -- who entered Sunday one victory shy of his 200th career win -- back to get back to the form he displayed before struggling in his last six starts. ... C Marcus Kruger skated Sunday morning for the first time since sustaining a hand injury Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. ... RW Jordin Tootoo and D Michal Rozsival were scratched.

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