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Blackhawks top Canadiens with Toews, Kane reunited

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Jonathan Toews lining up with Patrick Kane provided the spark the Chicago Blackhawks needed to get their offense going.

Toews scored his 200th goal and assisted on Kane's goal in the third to get his 450th point, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves for his first shutout to lead Chicago to a 5-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Toews tipped Duncan Keith's point shot past Montreal goalie Carey Price for a power-play goal at 11:19 of the first.

"Someone mentioned to me the other day that I was sneaking up there, so other than that, I really didn't have a clue," the Blackhawks captain said about his milestone goal. "I guess it's nice to have had the career I've had so far, part of a great team, and hopefully it's part of the first step in a long journey."

Kris Versteeg scored his first of two goals in the game midway through second period to put Chicago up 2-0. Brad Richards made it 3-0 early in the third period on his second goal.

Kane increased the lead to 4-0 at 12:31 with his fourth goal off a pass from Toews.

"They make some nice plays together, and I think they were probably excited once they got back together and it worked out," Keith said.

Versteeg scored his second goal of the game, fourth of the season, with a backhand past Price at 14:46 of the third period to make it 5-0.

It was the third time Chicago scored more than two goals in its past 11 games. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had preached getting men in front of the net.

"That's the way you score in this league," Quenneville said. "You know, the goalie sees the puck, particularly a guy like [Price]; he'll stop every single shot."

It was Crawford's 11th career shutout with the Blackhawks, who had lost two in a row and five of their previous seven games.

"There's nothing really that's been ailing us," Crawford said. "We've been creating chances, we've been playing good hockey. It's just we weren't getting some bounces, and nobody got frustrated in here. We kept playing hard and we kept creating chances again tonight, and we buried [them]."

Crawford, a 29-year-old native of Chateauguay, Quebec, a Montreal suburb, got his first win in three games at Bell Centre and improved to 3-0-2 against his hometown team.

"It's pretty special, obviously, growing up here and coming to watch games," said Crawford, who made a big save at 2:41 of the first to keep the game scoreless when he stuck out his right pad to stop PA Parenteau's shot on Montreal's first power play.

The Canadiens, who went 0-for-4 with the man advantage, have lost three in a row (0-2-1). Montreal has three power-play goals this season in 37 opportunities.

"Nothing's working for us," Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec said. "I mean, I thought we played hard in the first period, we put pucks to the net. We need to take a step back. We have to stay positive as much as possible and we've got to fight through it. We've got to help ourselves, somehow."

Price made a few incredible saves among his 27 stops on 32 shots, including an unbelievable second effort to deny Jeremy Morin the opening goal shortly before Toews scored to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

Referee Eric Furlatt signaled a delayed penalty on Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin as Price turned aside Brandon Saad's backhand from the slot. Morin had an open net to shoot at from the left side on the rebound, but Price reached back with his stick to knock the shot into the air. The Canadiens goalie then lunged to bat the puck over the crossbar with his blocker.

"It's pretty crazy to see some of the saves he makes," Versteeg said. "That's a top save."

Chicago made the most of the ensuing power play. Toews scored his milestone goal when he set up in front of Price and deflected Keith's shot through the Montreal goalie's pads for his 449th point.

Montreal has allowed the first goal in 11 of 13 games; they are 6-4-1 in those games. The Canadiens have been outscored 14-4 in the opening period, and they are yet to hold a lead after one period.

Versteeg made it 2-0 on his third goal at 9:57 of the second. His shot from the right corner struck Montreal defenseman Rene Bourque's skate and went into the net.

Price made another sensational save when he got a piece of Marian Hossa's shot on a power play in the second period. He then caught a break when Kane's shot from the right side went between his pads but wide of the left post.

Richards deflected Patrick Sharp's centering pass by Price at 2:22 of the third to extend Chicago's lead to 3-0.

"As a defenseman I've got to say, being in front of the net today, they didn't make it easy," said Montreal's P.K. Subban, who was called for his 11th minor penalty in the second. "They were there every time. Maybe we take a page out of their book and realize we've got to get in front of their goaltender and make it tough. Every time I can remember being on the ice, there was a guy in front of the net.

"Did they get some lucky bounces in front of the net? Yes, they did. But you've got to be there to get those bounces."

Sharp left the game after taking a hit by Emelin. He was helped off the ice by teammate Niklas Hjalmarsson at 6:55 and did not return.

Quenneville said that Sharp sustained a lower-body injury and "will be out for a bit."

"It's never easy, but we've been through it before," Toews said. "It's unfortunate for [Sharp]. He's been playing well. He's always a big part of our offense and he's been really great in getting shots off and creating on the power play. I guess whenever you have an injury to a key player, a guy like [Sharp], it's in a way an opportunity for some other guys to get more ice time and I think guys will try and step in and make up for that as much as they can, but as a team we have to be prepared to fill that void."

Montreal, which lost 6-2 against the Calgary Flames on Sunday, plays its third game in four days Wednesday at the Buffalo Sabres. Chicago hosts the Washington Capitals on Friday.

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