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Toews captains Hawks to Cup, wins Conn Smythe @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jonathan Toews is the second straight kid captain to lift the Stanley Cup.

And the Chicago Blackhawks' still rising star didn't stop there. He also claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Quite a performance for the center, who celebrated his 22nd birthday a little more than a month ago. Sidney Crosby captained the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Cup title last year when he was 21.

Toews also nearly finished atop the playoff scoring race with 29 points. Only a three-point night by Philadelphia's Danny Briere in the Cup clincher on Wednesday night kept Toews from a most impressive hat trick of hardware.

Toews was held to only three assists in the Blackhawks' six-game victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals, but his last point got Chicago going in Wednesday night's 4-3 overtime win that finished the series.

"This team put on one heckuva run," Toews said. "We knew from Day One of the season this team had the potential of our goal. It's just an amazing feeling right now."

Throw in the Olympic gold medal Toews earned with Canada at the Vancouver Games, and it's been one amazing year for the Manitoba native.

Toews helped set up Dustin Byfuglien's power-play goal in the first period, giving him a Blackhawks playoff record-tying 29th point and franchise-best 22nd assist in 22 postseason games. Denis Savard posted 20 assists and 29 points for Chicago in 1985.

That was enough to impress the voters for the award that recognizes a player's performance throughout the entire postseason, not just the finals.

It is only fitting that Toews led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup title since 1961, the longest current drought in the NHL. Toews became the first piece of Chicago's rebuilding process when he was chosen with the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft.

That was just the beginning.

Toews was a key cog in the Blackhawks' drive to back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference finals. After putting up 25 goals and 68 points during the regular season, when Chicago won the Central Division and earned the No. 2 seed in the West, Toews carried the Blackhawks further than they had been in nearly 50 years.

He had one goal and five assists in the four-game sweep of top-seeded San Jose in the conference finals and carried a 13-game point streak into the championship round - a run that produced seven goals and 18 assists.

"There's so many great things about winning a Stanley Cup," Toews said. "This is it. This is the best feeling you can ever get. I just can't believe it's happened."

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