Hawks’ top line hits its stride in Game 5
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org May 9, 2013 11:37PM
Updated: June 11, 2013 4:35PM
It was almost as if Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo knew his team could only contain the Blackhawks’ top line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad for so long.
‘‘If you would have told us through four games that Jonathan Toews wouldn’t have a point, we probably would have signed up for that pretty quickly,’’ Yeo said before Game 5 on Thursday. ‘‘We have to make sure that we continue to stay focused every shift, every guy, to play great defensively.’’
Sure enough, it couldn’t last forever. Hossa scored the first goal of the game off a nice feed from Toews with 4:21 left in the first period as the Hawks’ top line broke through in a big way in a 5-1 victory at the United Center that clinched their Western Conference quarterfinal series 4-1.
Hossa had two goals and an assist. Toews had two assists and Saad one assist. Toews, who took 11 shots in the first four games of the series, took five shots in Game 5, all in the first two periods when the Hawks took a 4-1 lead.
‘‘For us to see the puck go in early in the game — a lot of people were talking about us not scoring all series,’’ Toews said. ‘‘I’m telling you — it gives you a lot of energy. It’s great for us, and we’ll keep working.’’
Hossa scored again to make it 3-0 with 13:34 left in the second period when he picked a rebound from goaltender Josh Harding off a shot from Saad and slipped a backhanded shot past Harding.
‘‘We know we can get the intensity higher, and we showed it at some times,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘We have to make sure we play that way for 60 minutes.’’
Said Toews: ‘‘He just needs a couple to go in like that and he’s back to owning the puck and making plays every time he’s out there. It’s nice to see Hoss having success.’’