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Blackhawks Tue Mar 03 2009

Toews' helmet trick welcome Hawks home

After what felt like a never-ending road trip (the Blackhawks went 8-4 in playing 12 of their last 15 away from the United Center), the Hawks began a stretch of 7 of their next 8 games on home ice last Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While the Penguins emerged with a tough 5-4 overtime victory despite being without star Sidney Crosby, what many were talking about was Hawks captain Jonathon Toews' first career hat-trick, made more unique by the promotional give-away that night of a Blackhawks construction helmet.

(Video comes with equally amusing slo-mo of the Ice Crew picking up said helmets).

The helmet toss was the second of the night, following a premature celebration in the 2nd period when Toews had a goal overturned by video review. Given the amount of helmets on the ice after that toss, it's surprising so many were left for the actual trick.

The Hawks rebounded Sunday and broke a 3-game losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-2, giving Finnish goaltender Antti Niemi the win in his first career NHL start. Toews continued his dominance with a goal in the first minute of the game, giving him 9 tallies in his last 8 contests. Winger Martin Havlat stayed hot as well, registering 2 assists to run his point streak to 8 games.

The Hawks look to solidify their hold on the 4th playoff seed in the densely packed Western Conference tonight against the Anaheim Ducks whose 68 points is currently good for the 8th and final spot. With only 4 points seperating the sixth and twelfth spots, every game is crucial for teams in the thick of the playoff hunt. Although Chicago's 79 points has them 7 ahead of fifth-seed Vancouver with a game in hand, the Blackhawks are aiming to grab home ice for the first round of the playoffs in what would be the team's first postseason appearance in 8 years.

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