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updated: 4/22/2012 2:18 PM

Toews makes sure Hawks are still alive

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  • Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews celebrates his game-winning goal as teammate Bryan Bickell (29) joins him in celebration as the Phoenix Coyotes' Rostislav Klesla and goalie Mike Smith skate away Saturday during overtime in Game 5 in Glendale, Ariz. The Blackhawks defeated the Coyotes 2-1.

      Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews celebrates his game-winning goal as teammate Bryan Bickell (29) joins him in celebration as the Phoenix Coyotes' Rostislav Klesla and goalie Mike Smith skate away Saturday during overtime in Game 5 in Glendale, Ariz. The Blackhawks defeated the Coyotes 2-1.
    Associated Press

 
 

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix captain Shane Doan knew it wasn't going to be easy.

He knew winning that fourth game in an NHL playoff series is one of the toughest tasks in sports. He knows from experience -- having yet to accomplish the feat in his long, distinguished career.

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But there was one more thing bothering Doan after Saturday's morning skate as he prepared for a possible series-clinching game at Jobing.com Arena. One guy he brought up specifically by name, almost shaking his head as he did.

That name?

Jonathan Toews.

"Players in the league are so competitive; you look at the Blackhawks and you look at Jonathan Toews and his desire to win is so strong," Doan said. "You understand that he's going to do everything to try and find a way to win tonight.

"We have to match that."

It was almost impossible because Toews, who gave an inspired speech to his teammates Saturday morning, was a man possessed Saturday night.

If a guy could will a team to win, it was Toews, who scored the game-winner 2:44 into overtime -- the fifth straight overtime game of the series -- and the Hawks prevailed 2-1 to stay alive.

The series now moves back to the United Center for a Game 6 showdown Monday night at 8 p.m.

"I ended up getting the puck in open ice in the middle," Toews said of his game-winner, his second goal of the series. "I felt like I had enough time to get my head up and make a clear shot and look for some open space. I just went blocker side and I'm happy it went in."

The SRO crowd at Jobing.com Arena wasn't, but they had to see it coming because the Blackhawks were relentless in the final half of the game.

"They were coming hard," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "That was their season on the line so you knew they'd be coming hard."

Said Toews: "We've got a great group in here; we want to win. We owe it to each other to work hard."

And that they did, battling back from a 1-0 deficit midway through the third period which Nick Leddy erased with one big blast from just inside the blue line.

"We worked so hard tonight," Leddy said. "I'm glad it worked out."

"That's got to say something about our character and what we're able to do that -- especially against a team like that," Toews said. "They're so good at protecting leads."

"Tonight, going into that third period we reminded ourselves that we've done it multiple times in this series; win or lose we're going to find a way to come back."

The Blackhawks outshot the Coyotes 34-18 in regulation as they dominated play much of the night.

"I thought we really played our best game of the series tonight," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

mspellman@dailyherald.com

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