ST. PAUL, Minn. - He may not have the quantity of goals which Blackhawks fans have become accustomed to over the past decade, but the quality is still there for the captain.
Jonathan Toews came into Wednesday's game against the Wild with just ten goals on the season. But three of those tallies were game-winners for the Blackhawks, lending credence to his ability to come through for his team when needed.
That was especially the case against the Wild in Minnesota, when the story of his season played out in a five-minute overtime.
Toews had four shots on goal in the critical Central Division game at the Xcel Energy Center but none of them managed to find the net. But his fifth attempt of the night finally reached the back of the net as he slid a rebound past Darcy Keumper to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory.
While it might seem hyperbole for a team that's loaded with Stanley Cup champions, Toews' tally on Wednesday night might be the most important of the season to date. Trailing the Wild by six points heading into the night in the Central Division standings, a ninth-straight regular season loss to Minnesota could have proved costly for the Blackhawks' hopes to have the playoffs come through the United Center this spring.
Clutch goals have been a staple for Toews in his Blackhawks career - especially the past two seasons. In the team's Stanley Cup title year of 2014-2015 Toews has seven game-winning goals and last year tied a career-high with eight. Add in the four from this year and Toews has 55 game-winners in his career.
What's different, however, is that the captain hasn't been finding the net as often as other times. His 11 goals in 46 games has him on pace for a record-low in scores, which right now is 23 in the 2011-2012 season.
Perhaps things are looking up for Toews as of late. In his last eight games he's scored four goals as the captain hopes to add just a bit more quantity to a season that's featured a few quality goals.