CHICAGO — Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane played like stars — and that made all the difference for the struggling Blackhawks.
Hossa scored twice as Chicago overcame an early two-goal deficit and defeated Toronto 5-4 to end a three-game losing streak.
Kane had the goal that tied the score at three and assisted on Hossa's go-ahead score as the Blackhawks won for only the fifth time in their past 17 contests.
Hossa's goal late in the second period gave the Blackhawks their first lead at 4-3. He added an empty-net goal with 16 seconds left that turned out to be the game-winner after Toronto's Mike Brown scored with four seconds remaining.
The Blackhawks have dived from first overall in the NHL on Jan. 20 to sixth in the West. During the slide, Chicago's highly skilled, highly paid offensive stars — especially Kane — often haven't performed up to expectations.
But Wednesday, both Kane and Hossa battled through traffic and controlled the puck to spark the Blackhawks' comeback.
"I think Kaner had an excellent game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I look back over the season, and this game stands out as far as puck possession, threat to score off the rush, in-zone, time of possession.
"Offensively and defensively, he had a real purpose; liked his leadership as well. Our top guys have got to be not just our best players, but they have to lead us through this stretch here."
Kane scored for the second straight game but only for the fifth time in his last 25.
"We'll try to get some wins, get some points and try to finish the season strong," Kane said. "For sure, we're desperate. We're in the back half of the West, so how can you not be."
Rookies Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw also scored for Chicago.
Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur scored in the first period for the Maple Leafs, who lost their sixth straight and 10th in the past 11 games. Toronto was unable to hold on to a 3-1 lead it built by late in the first.
"We've been talking about how bad our starts have been, and we got the start we wanted. And then let them back into it," Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn said. "A couple goals there that we shouldn't give up; not blaming the goalie, just everyone in general. When you get a lead, you've got to clamp down."
Chicago's Corey Crawford started in goal but was replaced by Ray Emery to start the second after allowing three goals on 10 shots.
Emery was sharp and stopped 23 of 24 shots.
"Ray did an outstanding job," Quenneville said. "You look back over the year, you get some goalie wins.
"And Ray was instrumental in us winning."
Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson was shaky at times but finished with 30 saves.
"We can't really give up," Gustavsson said.
"I know no one on this team is going to do that."
Even in another loss, some Toronto players saw encouraging signs.
"Looking back a couple games, I thought this was a step forward, at least how we played the game," defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said
"We did some mistakes in our own end and they took advantage of it, but we had some chances."
Blackhawks captain and leading goal scorer Jonathan Toews missed his fifth game with an upper-body injury, believed to be a concussion. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson sat out his third straight and 10th in his last 11, with concussion symptoms.
Defenseman Johnny Oduya, acquired by Chicago from Winnipeg just before Monday's trade deadline, played his first game with Chicago.
The Blackhawks went 0-for-2 on the power play and have scored just one goal over their past 41 chances.
Game highlights: Pascal Dupuis converted in the fourth round of the shootout to give the visiting Penguins their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Stars.
Around the league: Former Canadiens star Jean Beliveau remained in the hospital two days after suffering a stroke. The team said there was no new information on the condition of the 80-year-old Hall of Famer, and the family has requested privacy. … Kris Letang, the Penguins' top-scoring defenseman with 31 points, left Wednesday's game against the Stars during the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. His status has not been determined.
First Period—1, Toronto, Bozak 14 (Lupul), :59. 2, Chicago, Shaw 6 (Bickell, Bolland), 11:01. 3, Toronto, Lupul 25 (Kessel, Phaneuf), 11:29 (pp). 4, Toronto, MacArthur 19 (Grabovski, Franson), 16:53. 5, Chicago, Kruger 8 (Leddy, Keith), 19:30. Penalties—Lupul, Tor (tripping), 3:33; Sharp, Chi (hooking), 11:09.
Second Period—6, Chicago, Kane 15 (Brunette, Lepisto), 8:33. 7, Chicago, Hossa 25 (Kane, Leddy), 12:06. Penalties—Schenn, Tor (roughing), 4:32; Shaw, Chi (goaltender interference, roughing), 4:32; Schenn, Tor, major (fighting), 14:03; Bollig, Chi, major (fighting), 14:03.
Third Period—8, Chicago, Hossa 26, 19:44 (en). 9, Toronto, Brown 2 (Crabb), 19:56. Penalties—Kane, Chi (high-sticking), 6:02; Connolly, Tor (hooking), 11:09. Shots on Goal—Toronto 10-7-17—34. Chicago 11-12-12—35. Power-play opportunities—Toronto 1 of 3; Chicago 0 of 2. Goalies—Toronto, Gustavsson 16-13-2 (34 shots-30 saves). Chicago, Crawford (10-7), Emery 12-8-2 (0:00 second, 24-23). A—21,244 (19,717).
|Penguins win shootout 3-2|
First Period—1, Dallas, Ja.Benn 18 (Ott, Burish), 15:25. 2, Pittsburgh, Sullivan 12 (Dupuis, Orpik), 18:53. Penalties—Ja.Benn, Dal (tripping), 5:26; Nystrom, Dal (roughing), 9:55; Malkin, Pit (interference), 11:00.
Second Period—3, Dallas, Souray 6 (Eriksson, Ribeiro), 19:47. Penalties—Ott, Dal (holding), :21; Larsen, Dal (interference), 4:32; Robidas, Dal (hooking), 8:40; Vitale, Pit (hooking), 13:35.
Third Period—4, Pittsburgh, Adams 4 (Staal), 3:33. 5, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 18 (Martin, Malkin), 4:12. 6, Dallas, Ryder 26 (Eriksson, Daley), 7:23. Penalties—Malkin, Pit, double minor (roughing), 8:24; Nystrom, Dal (roughing), 8:24; Orpik, Pit (hooking), 19:46.
Shootout—Pittsburgh 3 (Neal G, Malkin NG, Kunitz G, Dupuis G), Dallas 2 (Eriksson G, Ribeiro NG, Ja.Benn G, Ryder NG). Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 7-11-9-2—29. Dallas 10-12-8-3—33. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 0 of 5; Dallas 0 of 4. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 33-14-3 (33 shots-30 saves). Dallas, Lehtonen 24-15-4 (29-26). A—17,455 (18,532).