After the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes last week -- a 2-1 win that was the team's 27th game of the season decided by 1 goal -- Jonathan Toews was asked if he'd like a "laugher" once in awhile.
"You've got to earn that. You've got to work for that," Toews said. "No one's going to give you an easy game, especially when teams come into this building. They're ready to play us."
Ten minutes, 30 seconds into their 4-3 overtime victory over Detroit on Tuesday night at the United Center it certainly looked like the Hawks finally would get just their third laugher of the season as Brian Campbell and Richard Panik scored 26 seconds apart to make it a 2-0 game.
Of course, with this team nothing comes easy, and the Red Wings stormed back with 3 goals in the second period, forcing Toews and Co. into yet another nailbiter. The Hawks, playing 4-on-3 thanks to a Justin Abdelkader penalty late in the third period, prevailed when a Duncan Keith blast sailed over Peter Mrazek's right shoulder 38 seconds into overtime.
It was just Keith's second goal all season.
"I felt like I've been shooting the puck better the last three weeks or so," he said. "Eventually they'll come."
The Hawks, who got 33 saves from Corey Crawford, improved to 27-12-5 and completed a 4-0 homestand with victories over Buffalo, Carolina, Nashville and Detroit.
"We wanted to take advantage of our home schedule here," Quenneville said. "We've been playing better. I thought tonight was a real solid game. A little slow in the second, but we did some real solid things across the board."
Detroit tied it at 2-2 on second-period goals by Andreas Anthanasiou at 1:37 and Tomas Tatar at 9:09. The Hawks regained the lead on Tanner Kero's first goal of the season at 18:18 of the second, but the Wings tied it with just 19 seconds left in the period on a Luke Glendening tally.
Kero's line was sensational all night as he, Panik and Ryan Hartman (2 assists) combined for 10 shots on goal, 5 hits and 3 take-aways.
"They go to the net; they hang around the net," coach Joel Quenneville said. "That line was outstanding."
As for finally getting a blowout victory, Quenneville basically said don't hold your breath expecting one to be right around the corner.
"All the teams are pretty even," he said. "You look at the standings, you see just about every team .500 or above. … Teams know how to play to keep themselves in games. And then the score dictates a lot of the way the game is being played.
"Seems like there's so much balance in the league. The parity's as good as it's ever been."
Not getting his Zzzs:
Jonathan Toews admitted he "lost a little sleep the last couple nights" after losing a bet to Patrick Kane and being forced to wear a Team USA jersey thanks to the United States' victory over Canada in the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Kane and Toews were shown wearing USA gear Sunday in the Hawks' dressing room.
"It was a tough one," Toews said. "But I don't know -- I took that bet feeling pretty confident. I have a pretty good track record against Kaner in international play, so I thought it would be the same case here. Tough bounce for Team Canada, but I'll definitely be doubling down next year."
He said it:
"We don't change the mindset based on geography."
-- Joel Quenneville when asked if the Hawks just play for overtime late in tie games vs. Eastern Conference teams