NHL: Chicago 4, Minnesota 2

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Jonathan Toews scored and added a pair of assists Monday, boosting the surging Chicago Blackhawks to a crucial 4-2 victory over Minnesota.

Toews' tally capped a three-goal outburst in the second period during which the Blackhawks also got markers from Tomas Kopecky and Patrick Sharp, and Chicago held on to notch its fifth straight victory, enhancing its Western Conference playoff hopes.


Marian Hossa's shorthanded goal on a 2-on-1 rush with Toews with less than 2 minutes remaining blunted a Minnesota comeback and Corey Crawford turned aside 24-of-26 shot for the victors.

The Wild and the Blackhawks came into the game tied with 72 points, holding the seventh and eighth conference playoff spots, respectively.

Martin Havlat and Brett Burns made it close with third-period goals, but Minnesota could get no closer and lost for only the second time in nine home games.

Nicklas Backstrom turned aside 30-of-34 shots for the Wild.

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