CHICAGO – The Blackhawks' depth has been one of the main drivers behind their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
That carried over to Saturday night's NHL awards, when captain Jonathan Toews finished fourth in the voting for the Hart Trophy, which was won by Washington's Alex Ovechkin. Patrick Kane was sixth in the voting.
Toews received 886 votes, well behind Ovechkin's 1,090 – including 50 first-place votes. Toews had 39. The Hart Trophy voting came a day after Toews was awarded the NHL's Frank J. Selke Trophy, being recognized by the league's top defensive forward. Toews received a standing ovation when the honor was announced during Saturday night's first period.
But Toews' victory was nearly as close as Wednesday night's 4-3 Hawks' win in triple overtime. Toews edged out Boston's Patrice Bergeron by a margin of only 10 votes. Toews topped the voting with 1,260 votes.
"You never expect those things," Toews said after Saturday's morning skate. "There are so many players around the league that could be recognized for that. Not just around the league, but in this locker room, too. You're seeing the reason we've gone so far in the playoffs – because of so many different guys."
The Hawks' star power was evident in most of the NHL honors. Defenseman Duncan Keith finished sixth for the Norris Trophy, honoring the leagues top defenseman. That award went to Montreal's P.K. Subban. Hawks rookie Brandon Saad finished third in the voting for the Calder Trophy, recognizing the league's top first-year player.
Hawks goalkeepers Ray Emery and Corey Crawford finished seventh and eighth, respectively for the Vezina Trophy, which was won by Columbus' Sergei Bobrovski. Patrick Kane and coach Joel Quenneville also finalists for awards. Kane was up for the Lady Byng Trophy, honoring the league's top gentleman while Quenneville was a finalist for the NHL's Coach of the Year honors.
Getting to know you: Despite not facing off for almost two years prior to Wednesday night's triple-overtime game, the Hawks and Bruins had already played almost six periods of hockey, giving them a sense of familiarity.
Quenneville used video and scouting reports to prepare for the Bruins, but he said Saturday that Wednesday's Game 1, white-knuckle 4-3 victory gave him much more to go on. But one thing didn't come as a surprise.
"We know we got to be good. I know they're going to be hungry and ready," Quenneville said. "We have to be better."
One lesson learned early on in the series: The Bruins aren't like a lot of teams the Hawks have faced this season.
‘‘They play with the puck well. That’s different from the West teams," forward Michael Frolik said Saturday. "The West teams are more simple — just put the puck deep. (The Bruins’) skill guys can make some plays They really play well with the puck and have good patience with the puck."
Streaking: The Hawks entered Saturday night's game having won eight of their last nine games – a stretch that includes a perfect 3-0 record in overtime. The Hawks have an NHL-best 10 postseason wins at home and have outscored opponents 37-20 at the United Center. Despite Wednesday's loss, the Bruins have also been hot of late and entered Game 2 having not lost a game in regulation since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Toronto. Boston is 9-2 since and have outscored its opponents 36-20 during that span.