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Blackhawks' top line staying confident

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa worked well together all season as the top-line combination for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Through four games of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Minnesota Wild, however, all they've produced is one goal and one assist -- each credited to Hossa and coming without assistance from Toews or Saad.

The Wild, who trail 3-1 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 5 on Thursday at United Center (9:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2, NBCSN), are getting good results by playing their top defense pairing against the Blackhawks' top line.

Ryan Suter and rookie Jonas Brodin have helped limit scoring chances for Toews' line, along with stellar defensive efforts by the forwards the Wild have had on the ice with that top defense pair.

Toews, however, said it's no time for his line to start squeezing their sticks.

"It's easy to get frustrated in situations like this, but you don’t ever want to say that word because it kind of gives the other team props for what they're doing," Toews said. "I think at this point we all understand we're working hard for quality scoring chances and they're working very hard to limit those chances. So when we get our chances we have to find a way to capitalize on them."

The way Toews sees it, all it might take is one goal to break open the floodgates.

"I think we know that once one goes in, we'll get that confidence that they all can go in again," Toews said. "Maybe the rest of the game flows a little bit more for us, where we're just making plays and keeping the puck alive in the offensive zone … where [now] sometimes we're fighting it a little bit and we're trying maybe a little bit too hard. [It's] no time to get frustrated. We'll stay with it and keep working. There's a lot of skill and eventually it's going to go in for us."

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