Hawks' big line to shake off jitters

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:11 PM ET

CHICAGO - The numbers, nor the Philadelphia Flyers, weren’t kind to the Chicago Blackhawks big line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien Saturday.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they were awful in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final: Toews, a Conn Smythe candidate, had one shot and was minus-3; Kane, two shots and minus-3 and Byfuglien, two shots and minus-3.

Points: zero.

“All three of us know it’s not as much what they did as what we didn’t do on the ice,” said Toews after a long meeting Sunday to decide how they needed to be better in Game 2 Monday night. “We were chasing the puck a little bit.

“Again, as a team, I’m very thankful as a team we found a way (to win), but again, I think we can all treat it as kind of a loss. We all know it wasn’t our best game, so we will prepare to play much better (Monday) night. I think both teams are putting that game behind them.”

Kane pointed out how many hits Byfuglien had as evidence of how things didn’t go the big line’s way.

“Buff (Byfuglien) had 10 hits and that’s too many,” said Kane. “That shows how much we were chasing the puck around.

“All three of us don’t want to blow this opportunity.”

Teammate Patrick Sharp said he hasn’t seen anybody that’s been able to keep the Toews group down on a consistent basis.

“I expect them to bounce back with a big effort,” he said. “It’s hard to believe they’re just 21 or 22 years old. It seems like they’re more like 32 the way they carry themselves. They’ve got a lot of pride.”

Toews said he expected both teams to shake off the nerves that seem to affect play on both sides of the puck in Game 1. Game 2 should be a different story.

“It’s been such a long week that there’s a lot of moments during that week when you’re just sitting around and you’re really thinking about it and you try and keep your TV off and you don’t want to read the newspapers and stuff like that, just to kind of treat it as just another game and we’re playing hockey,” Toews said. “But everyone knows what’s at stake here, so it’s tough not to get excited about it.

“I think both teams maybe realized that maybe a little bit too much (Saturday) night. You could definitely see that there was definitely some jitters early on.”


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