CHICAGO – The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are starting to look like their old selves.
And Jonathan Toews, their 22-year-old captain, looks as if he’s taking his game to a new level.
Toews scored two goals and the Blackhawks held off the Calgary Flames 6-4 on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high six games.
Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists for surging Chicago, 8-1-2 in its last 11. Brian Campbell, Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa each had a goal and an assist.
“We’re not doing it as a streak my any means,” Toews said. “We’ve been doing a great job of taking one game at a time, especially coming back from the all-star break. It’s been since then that we’ve gradually gotten better every night.”
Toews has led the Blackhawks’ revival with five goals in his last three games. He also extended his points streak to seven, with six goals and seven assists in that span.
“It’s easy to notice a player when the pucks are going in,” Toews said. “I wouldn’t say a lot has changed in my game.”
But Toews has been in high gear to drive the Blackhawks squarely back into the playoff picture in the congested Western Conference standings.
“Johnny’s got it going,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was an amazing play on the (first) goal. He’s finishing well. He’s a horse out there.”
Rene Bourque scored twice and Jarome Iginla connected once in the third period for the Flames, who fell short in trying to come back from a 4-1 deficit. Alex Tanguay added a goal and an assist for Calgary, which lost in regulation for only the second time in its last eight games.
Calgary is 13-3-3 in its last 19. The Flames also have climbed back into playoff contention in the West.
“Tonight, we weren’t as sharp defensively, there’s no question,” said Iginla, who added two assists. “At the same time going into the third period everybody in our room believed we could come back and we almost did.
“We didn’t win the game. But at the same time, this year—especially in the last 30 games or two months or so—we’ve felt like whatever the score is we can come back.”
Blackhawks rookie Corey Crawford made 21 saves in his ninth straight start.
Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff started and allowed four goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Henrik Karlsson to begin the third period. Karlsson stopped nine of 10 shots.
Pulling Kiprusoff was a response to the Flames’ sloppy coverage, not the goalie’s effort, Calgary coach Brent Sutter said.
“We gave up over 20 quality scoring chances and that’s not good enough,” Sutter said. “When you score four goals on the road, you need to buckle down. You need to win the game.”
Tanguay stretched his points streak to six games and has three goals and seven assists during the run.
Toews opened the scoring 6:46 in, capping a crisp, cross-ice passing play with linemates Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane. Toews was wide open at the right side of the crease and fired in a shot before Kiprusoff could slide across.
Tanguay tied it midway through the first on a power play, beating Crawford with a high screened shot from the left circle.
Frolik made it 2-1 with 1:35 left in the period when he drove to the net and scored his first goal since Dec. 17 with Florida. It also was his first point in 10 games since being acquired from the Panthers in a trade Feb. 9.
Campbell and Toews scored 1:22 apart late in the second to put Chicago in charge, 4-1. Campbell rifled in a power-play goal from the top of the right circle and Kiprusoff down with 4:49 left in the period.
Toews scored his second goal with 3:27 left in the second when he muscled across the slot and beat Kiprusoff with a screened shot.
After Karlsson replaced Kiprusoff, the Flames started the third with a flurry. Bourque cut it to 4-2 at 1:24 of the period on Calgary’s fifth shot of the frame when he fired in a loose puck from the edge of the crease.
Iginla ripped in a screened shot from the crease at 8:44 to make it 4-3 Just over two minutes later, however, Bolland connected from the right circle to make it 5-3. Bourque scored his second goal, on a long rebound, with 3:56 left to trim it to 5-4.
Hossa scored into an empty net with 39 seconds left.
NOTES: Calgary C Brendan Morrison left the game late midway through the third period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Sutter said Morrison would be evaluated on Thursday. D Chris Campoli, acquired from Ottawa on Monday, played his first game for the Blackhawks. … Calgary LW Fredrik Modin, acquired from Atlanta on Monday, and D Brett Carson, claimed off waivers from Carolina on Monday, both were with the team but didn’t dress for the second straight game. … The Flames are 19-5-6 since Dec. 21 when they bottomed out at 14-18-3, and 17-5-6 since Darryl Sutter stepped down as general manager on Dec. 27.