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updated: 4/14/2012 6:10 PM

Hawks' Toews expects physical play tonight

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  • The Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook celebrates his game-tying goal with teammates Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews with 14 seconds left in regulation in Game 1 on Thursday night. The Hawks fell in overtime.

      The Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook celebrates his game-tying goal with teammates Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews with 14 seconds left in regulation in Game 1 on Thursday night. The Hawks fell in overtime.
    Associated Press

 
 

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jonathan Toews didn't have a big X on his back Thursday night in the Blackhawks 3-2 overtime loss to Phoenix.

It just seemed that way at times as the Coyotes showed no mercy toward the Hawks' captain in his first game back since suffering a concussion.

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Afterward, the Coyotes pleaded innocent to selected targeting but had to admit it was quite a comeback by the captain.

"We're trying to be physical with everybody," said Phoenix captain Shane Doan, who gave Toews the business on a couple of occasions.

"He's as good a player as there is in the league. He comes back with a goal and an assist after missing 22 games … he's a huge part of that team."

Plus, it wasn't like Toews wasn't expecting all the contact. This is the playoffs, after all.

"Of course," Toews said. "I'm going to be there at the net, in front of the goalie every whistle. Every chance they get they're going to take shots. I expected that. It's no big deal.

"I'm just happy with the way I dealt with it … keep playing and not shy away from it."

Toews opened the scoring early in the first period on a backhander from a tough angle that somehow eluded Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.

Toews wasn't done. He also assisted on Brent Seabrook's game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation.

"He's one of the best guys in the league and one of the hardest workers," Coyotes forward Raffi Torres said. "When you have a guy like that leading you -- and he won a Cup -- you never count a team like them out."

Even Toews had to admit he was surprised by his Game 1 output.

"Yeah, a little bit," he said with a smile. "It was nice to score on the second shift in.

"Going into the game I just had a feeling if I played scrappy, played hard in front of the net, that I'd eventually get a bounce. It was nice to get one early. It gives you a little confidence."

But it also takes a lot out of a guy, as Toews admitted.

"I feel much better than (Thursday) night," he said following practice Friday. "It was a tough one to jump into, but I think the adrenaline kind of helps you power through it.

"Physically, the worst is over. No more excuses."

And that's exactly the way the Hawks have to look at this quarterfinal series after dropping the opener to the rugged Coyotes.

"I think it should get our attention, trailing in a series -- we don't like that result," coach Joel Quenneville said. "There were some good stretches. I thought in the first and third we had some good periods.

"But at the end of the day we're down 1-0, and we've come in here to win at least one game, and that's what we've got to look for (Saturday) night."

mspellman@dailyherald.com

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