SPORTS

Toews scores, Crawford gets shutout as Blackhawks down Canadiens 5-0

11/04/2014 10:10 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Whatever was ailing the Chicago Blackhawks shooters looks to have been cured.

Kris Versteeg scored twice and Corey Crawford made 28 saves for the shutout as the Blackhawks ended a two-game losing run with a 5-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to see some bounces go our way," said defenceman Duncan Keith. "We had some good chances the last little while and didn't get some bounces, but we stayed positive and it worked out good tonight."

The Blackhawks (7-5-1) went into the game with a 2-5-0 skid in which they outshot opponents by wide margins but couldn't get many pucks in the net.

That all changed when they went up against a Montreal team that looks to have gone cold after a blazing start to the season. The Canadiens (8-4-1) suffered a second one-sided defeat at home in a row after Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Chicago was coming off a 1-0 loss on home ice to Winnipeg in which they outshot the Jets 33-27. In the game before that, they outshot Toronto 47-27 and lost 3-2. Then they went out and beat Carey Price five times on 32 shots.

"It's a good feeling in here right now," said Keith. "We know we've been struggling to score goals lately and I thought we did a good job of playing all five guys together on the ice and working as a team.

"We had guys going to the net and we kept it simple — throw it at the net."

The win may have been costly as winger Patrick Sharp was helped off the ice six minutes into the third period after a solid, but legal hit into the boards by Alexei Emelin.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Sharp suffered a lower-body injury and would be evaluated in the next couple of days. He called it a "tough break" and said Sharp will be "out for a bit," but did not elaborate.

"We have some guys with skill who want more ice time," said Quenneville. "We'll see how it works out."

Jonathan Toews, with his 200th career goal, Brad Richards and Patrick Kane also scored for Chicago.

The Canadiens (8-4-1), winless in three games and 1-3-1 in their last five, had a solid first period but seemed to come unglued after Versteeg gave Chicago a 2-0 lead 9:57 into the second period.

"Usually we show character after that happens, but this time we didn't," said coach Michel Therrien. "We only played a half a game.

"Our transition game is not there. It's like a relay race — if you don't get the baton, you can't race."

The Canadiens will look to bounce back Wednesday night against the Sabres in Buffalo, their first game against former Montreal captain Brian Gionta and assistant captain Josh Gorges.

It was a big night for Crawford, who grew up in nearby Chateauguay, Que.

He said it was a matter of time before Chicago's top guns started scoring.

"There's nothing that's been ailing us," said Crawford, who picked up his first shutout of the season and the 11th of his career. "We've been playing good hockey and creating chances, we just weren't getting the bounces.

"Nobody got frustrated in here. We kept playing hard. We created some chances tonight and buried them."

The Canadiens controlled the early minutes and P.A. Parenteau, David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher all missed early chances before Toews put Chicago on the board on a power play at 11:19.

The Blackhawks' captain deflected a Keith point shot past Price.

Chicago got a lucky one 9:56 into the second when Versteeg's pass from the corner went off Rene Bourque's leg and in on the short side.

Richards was at the doorstep to deflect a Sharp pass into the top corner 2:22 into the third frame.

Kane fought off a check from Dale Weiss to finish a feed from Toews at 12:31 and Versteeg scored his second of the night into an open side on Bryan Bickell's pass.

Price made a spectacular save late in the first when he got his stick down the thwart Jeremy Morin on the doorstep and then pushed a puck hovering in the crease over the net with his glove.

Notes — The Blackhawks last win in Montreal was Dec. 3, 2001. . . The Canadiens have conceded the first goal in 11 of 13 games and have not had a lead after the first period this season. . . Montreal's Mike Weaver and Brandon Prust both served minors for embellishment. . . Niklas Hjalmarsson played his 400th NHL game. . . Michael Bournival played his first game of the season for Montreal. . . The Blackhawks juggled lines, putting Toews and Kane on the same unit.

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