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First goal of playoffs takes load off Jonathan Toews’ mind

Chicago Blackhawks Vs Detroit Red Wings  2nd Period Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews brings puck net while Detroit Red Wings

Chicago Blackhawks Vs Detroit Red Wings 2nd Period Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews brings the puck to the net while Detroit Red Wings Brendan Smith and goaltender Jimmy Howard can't stop Toews from scoring The goal was not allowed. Saturday May 25, 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 26, 2013 12:29AM

Bryan Bickell didn’t know teammate Jonathan Toews was listening in. But Toews was in earshot when Bickell was asked about Toews’ first goal of this postseason.

‘‘It’s nice to see that smile on his face,’’ Bickell said after the Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series Saturday.

And, like that, Bickell made Toews smile again. ‘‘Captain Serious’’ even chuckled.

‘‘It’s good for him,’’ Bickell said. ‘‘I feel that once he got that first one, there’s many more to come.’’

If that happens, the Red Wings might be in trouble.

Toews ended his goal drought during a power play late in the second period. Left alone against Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, Toews lifted a shot from the right circle that ricocheted off of Howard’s facemask and into the net.

‘‘It’s just nice to see one go in,’’ Toews said. ‘‘You work so hard for so many games, not only for yourself but your linemates, the guys that are out there with you. It builds your confidence. I don’t care who you are. When you see it go in, you feel like you can do it again, and that’s a feeling not only with myself but for our team
right now.’’

Toews has endured the brunt of the criticism for the Hawks’ failures in this series, especially during his march to the penalty box during the second period of Game 4, when his emotions seemingly got the best of him.

But the most noticeable emotions that flowed from Toews after Game 5 were ones of jubilation and relief.

‘‘You feel like in big-time situations that you need to find a way to do something,’’ Toews said. ‘‘I don’t necessarily want to change my game too much. A lot of people thought that maybe I got away from it in the last game. Of course, you want to play with emotion, but I just wanted to stay with it.’’

Seabrook rebounds

Coach Joel Quenneville sent a clear message to Brent Seabrook in Game 4 by playing him only 12 minutes, 3 seconds — a paltry workload for a No. 2 defenseman.

But Game 5 was much better for Seabrook.

He was on the ice for Dan Cleary’s tying goal during a
3-on-2 rush in the second period, but he played 23:20, had seven shots on goal, delivered a huge hit in the first period and excelled when reunited with Duncan Keith (two assists).

‘‘I thought he had a real strong game,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It was nice that those guys got reunited and played the way they did. I thought [Seabrook’s] physical presence was noticeable.’’

The Detroit view

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he thought his team was ‘‘tentative’’ in the first period but ‘‘got going pretty good’’ in the second until penalties and mistakes derailed any momentum they had. He called the Hawks’ power-play production ‘‘the difference’’ in the game.

‘‘We weren’t good enough tonight at all as far as our plan we have to play to be successful,’’ Babcock said. ‘‘There was too much space, and they just were free-wheeling around, having fun.’’

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