Marian Hossa has played with Jonathan Toews long enough to know when the Blackhawks captain is in a zone and feeling it like he was Tuesday night against Ottawa, just get him the puck and stay out of his way.
"He's so good around the net," Hossa said. "He was jumping for the loose pucks and going to the net hard."
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Toews had his third career hat trick, a natural hat trick, with an assist in the 6-5 win over the Senators. He single-handedly brought the Hawks back from a 4-2 deficit midway through the second period with 3 straight goals.
Not many players in the NHL could do what Toews did, put their team on his back like that and lead the way from behind -- certainly Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Pavel Datsyuk. Maybe Henrik Sedin.
Even Hawks coach Joel Quenneville knew he had witnessed something special.
"That was a pretty amazing performance," Quenneville said. "As a fan, you're going to remember that game."
The Hawks' new top line of Toews, Hossa and Patrick Sharp combined for 9 points in the victory. Hossa had a goal and 2 assists against his former team, while Sharp had 2 assists.
It has been a slow start to the season for all three Hawks stars.
"It's more exciting for our line to see pucks go in," Toews said. "Me, Sharpie and Hoss, the last couple games, have been playing really well. Maybe some of our top guys this year haven't been seeing the results they want and seeing the pucks go in, but that doesn't mean we haven't been creating chances and playing good hockey."
Hossa borrowed a quote from Anaheim's Teemu Selanne to describe the Hawks' offensive surge.
"I think it's like a ketchup bottle," Hossa said. "At first it doesn't go, it doesn't go, and all of a sudden it's coming.
"We know we've got a lot of offensive power on this team."
And it starts with Toews, who has 7 goals and 13 points in 13 games. He probably should have had 4 goals Tuesday, but the Hawks' first goal was awarded to Andrew Shaw, even though it appeared to hit Toews on the way in.
"It definitely builds your confidence a little bit," Toews said. "Hopefully I can ride that out and keep playing well."
Goalie Corey Crawford, who came on in relief of starter Nikolai Khabibulin when it was 4-2, was the beneficiary of Toews' big night.
"Every situation like that he seems to come through and rally the team," Crawford said. "He's so skilled, but on his goals he's able to get to the tough areas to score. He can score them any way."
Even as they struggled early in the year to find the back of the net, Quenneville never was without confidence that the Hawks would score goals.
"We feel the finish is always going to be there," he said. "You never have to worry about this team scoring goals, but it's how we check that's going to make us successful."
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