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updated: 3/30/2014 11:38 PM

Toews 'day-to-day' after Blackhawks loss

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  • The Pittsburgh Penguins' Lee Stempniak (22) puts the puck behind Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) for a goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 30, 2014. The Penguins won 4-1.

      The Pittsburgh Penguins' Lee Stempniak (22) puts the puck behind Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) for a goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 30, 2014. The Penguins won 4-1.
    Associated Press

  • The Penguins' Lee Stempniak puts the puck behind Hawks goalie Corey Crawford in the first period Sunday night.

      The Penguins' Lee Stempniak puts the puck behind Hawks goalie Corey Crawford in the first period Sunday night.
    Associated Press

 
 

As bad as things have been lately without Patrick Kane in the lineup -- and they've been pretty bad -- at least there's comfort in knowing that No. 88 should be back for the start of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks were looking at a nightmare scenario Sunday night when Jonathan Toews took a crunching hit along the boards from Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik with 6:30 remaining in the second period, left the ice holding his left arm and never returned in a 4-1 Penguins victory.

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Just imagine having Toews and Kane out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

"Of course it would be a huge bad break for us, but at the same time we have a lot of other players here, too," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "It's time for pretty much all of us to step up."

However, it looks like the captain won't be out for an extended period of time.

"We'll know more (today)," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "We'll call him day-to-day and get a better assessment tomorrow.

"I don't think it's serious."

While some would have expected old-school, physical retaliation by the Hawks after seeing their captain go down, it never materialized, but their level of intensity did seem to pick up after the incident if that's any consolation.

"I liked our response right away from it," Quenneville said. "We played well for a majority of that stretch there."

But as has been the case on this three-game road trip, it wasn't enough.

The Penguins took a 2-1 lead with a pair of goals in a 21-second span of the first period.

Sheldon Brookbank cut the lead in half in the second, but Sidney Crosby's first career goal against the Hawks in the final five minutes of the game sealed the deal.

Crosby added an empty-netter with just more than a minute left for good measure.

Thus concluded an ugly road trip for the Hawks in which they went 0-3, were outscored 12-4 and fell a point behind Colorado in the battle for home-ice advantage.

"This road trip has been a wake-up call," Hjalmarsson said. "It's not good enough the way we've played the last three games here."

They'll have some time to ponder it; the Hawks don't play again until they host Minnesota on Thursday -- with or without Toews in the lineup.

"At this time of the year we want to make sure that Johnny gets better and fresh," Quenneville said.

"Whether it's a break (for him) or not we'll see, but we want to make sure our health and being rested going into the playoffs is a priority."

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