But Toews, while mentally recovered from a concussion that caused him to miss the last 22 games of the regular season, is still feeling a bit creaky from the two-month layoff. Skating prior to returning brought his legs back, but not everything.
"For the most part, it's timing and speed; it's energy," Toews said Monday. "It's all those things, and it'll keep coming. I felt a did a few things better in the second game, whether it was faceoffs or chipping pucks out, options on the power play. Little things I improved on."
Toews played nearly 20 minutes (of nearly 70) in Game 1, and more than 17 minutes in Game 2, which also went halfway into the first overtime.
He's taking his usual role on the power play, was a combined plus-4 in the first two games, and appears to have not missed a beat. But he's a tough judge.
"I feel my game is slowly going to come together," Toews said. "It definitely wasn't all there the first two games, but I feel it'll keep improving."
Toews must be feeling well. He even half-cracked a smile when asked what the answer to keeping the momentum after scoring the game's first goal would entail.
"Probably trying to score the next one would be a solution to that," quipped Toews.
A funny line from Captain Serious in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Go figure.
Check Brandon Bollig's blood-sugar level, then, for he scored goal No. 1 of his career in Game 2 of the Blackhawks' Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix.
"That it came in the playoffs and it tied the game up is an amazing feeling," Bollig said of scoring the Hawks' second goal in Saturday's 4-3 overtime win in Glendale, Ariz. "It was great to see the activity on my phone from people happy for me."
Bollig, an undrafted free agent signed by the Hawks two years ago, played 18 regular-season games and collected neither a goal nor an assist. Considered an enforcer, he plays that role well, but knows
he'll have to show more, or the next young kid who comes along will take his spot.
"Obviously what got me here was that physical side, that enforcer-type role, but yeah, I think what's going to make me stick is bringing more to the game than just that," he said. "That's what I'm trying to
Timely goals in playoff games will do that. For Bollig, just breathing before Game 1 was a triumph.
"Being a part of (the playoffs), I almost had to have the doc check my heart rate, it was so high," Bollig said. "It's definitely fun to be a part of games like that. You get a lot more amped up."Whatever happens next, he'll have both the memory and evidence of it. The puck he got past Mike Smith will be mounted on a plaque for him.
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He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow. I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense... I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver.