Despite the fact that it's getting to be a little old hat -- three nominations in four years and the winner last season -- you could tell by the smile on Jonathan Toews' face Thursday that being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy never gets old.
"I'm excited. It's an honor," Toews said of this season's nomination. "I owe a lot to my teammates for getting recognition like that.
"I think for any player to be nominated for an award is always a reflection not only of his own ability but more so the teammates and the linemates he's playing with. I've been in a good situation all year just like last year."
Toews, 25, ranked third on the Blackhawks with 68 points and second on the team with a plus-26 rating in 76 regular-season games. He also ranked second on the Blackhawks with 51 takeaways and fifth in the NHL, third in the Western Conference, winning 57.2 of his faceoffs this season.
The other two finalists are Boston's Patrice Bergeron, the winner in 2011-12, and first-time finalist Anze Kopitar of the Kings,
"You look at the other two guys right now, to be in company with those two players like this is a huge honor," Toews said. "Two centermen that were (big) parts of their Stanley Cup winning teams in the last couple years. I guess to be compared to those players is what I'm going for as a hockey player."
Waiting to unleash:
While Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have found their offense, a couple of the other Blackhawks' big guns -- Patrick Sharp (no points) and Marian Hossa (1 assist) --- are still looking to get untracked.
"I look back at Sharpie's case; he had two breakaways, empty net," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He had several chances (Wednesday). You get those looks and eventually you're going to get your turn. I thought Hoss had better looks (Wednesday) than he had in his 8-shot Game 2.
"Last year we were talking about Johnny in that same situation, but as long as you can contribute to the team game, it's what we're looking for."
He said it:
"We want the puck on his stick as much as possible. He can shoot the puck like no one I've ever played with. He's a great player. I'm glad he's on our side."
-- T.J. Oshie on Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored twice Wednesday and has 4 goals in the series.