Toews sparks Blackhawks to another victory
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The Blackhawks are inching closer to an NHL record.
They find themselves 11-0-3 after beating San Jose 4-1 on Friday night at the United Center, pulling within two games of Anaheim's record of 16 to start the season without a loss in regulation (12-0-4 in 2006-07).
Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Niklas Hjalmarsson scored goals to back the solid goaltending of Ray Emery, who made 27 saves.
The Edmonton Oilers went the first 15 games without a loss in 1984-85, and the Montreal Canadiens went 14 without a defeat in 1943-44. Both went on to win the Stanley Cup.
So did Anaheim in 2007.
"Let's go for that one," Hjalmarsson said of the Ducks' record. "That would be pretty fun to have."
A rare flash of temper by Jonathan Toews got the Hawks rolling in the first period.
Toews went after Joe Thornton behind the net and was lucky he didn't draw an instigator penalty on top of the five minutes he got for fighting and minors for boarding and unsportsmanlike conduct.
An interference penalty to Patrick Marleau at 18:55 cut the Hawks' kill short.
"There's always little things, players that are going to be chipping at you and trying to get under your skin," Toews said. "I think the rest is history right now.
"I felt it was something I needed to do to stand up for myself, and I did it and I'm glad I did. I think it helped our team and we got the win tonight. That's the most important thing.
"I'm still here and still standing, so that's a good thing, right?"
It was the third career fight for Toews, who fought the St. Louis Blues' David Backes in 2010 and the Phoenix Coyotes' Martin Hanzal in 2008.
"He's probably one of the most competitive guys on the team," Hjalmarsson said. "He gets pretty fired up out there. It didn't shock me. He's a tough guy. He can handle himself."
Toews and Thornton have a history of bad blood going back to last season, when Thornton punched Toews in the back of the head several times during a game.
Toews played the next few games, then missed the rest of the regular season with a concussion believed to have worsened in an auto accident.
"I don't know about that," Hjalmarsson said when asked about the feud between team captains. "That's Tazer's thing."
"I told Johnny during the intermission the crowd normally gets excited for fights and they start cheering, but it was pretty quiet during that one," Patrick Sharp said. "Everyone was kind of saying, 'Is that Tazer fighting?' It definitely gave us a spark."
Bolland converted a rebound of a Patrick Kane shot into a goal at 19:16 to open the scoring. It was Bolland's fifth goal of the season.
Kruger made it 2-0 early in the second period when he swatted his own rebound into an empty net. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi had Kruger's long dump-in take a sideways bounce off the right post.
"Krugs got a fortunate bounce, but he still went to the net to follow the play and got rewarded," coach Joel Quenneville said.
San Jose answered quickly with Tim Kennedy's goal at 5:03 of the second period, but a bad roughing penalty on Jason Demers at 13:15 put the Sharks short-handed, and Shaw scored on the power play from in front to make them pay.
Hjalmarsson scored his first goal of the season at 6:28 of the third period.
"We're going one day and one game at a time here," Quenneville said, "but we like our start."
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