The Chicago Blackhawks were struggling. Nikolai Khabibulin was yanked in the second period, and the Ottawa Senators looked ready to put away a big road win.
Then Corey Crawford came in, and Jonathan Toews took off.
Toews had three goals and an assist, Crawford made 14 saves in relief of an ineffective Khabibulin and the Blackhawks rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Senators on Tuesday night.
"The last couple times we've been down in the third period, or down a goal a two later on in the game, we've found a way to finish better than if we've had the lead," Toews said. "We have that confidence that we can come back if we're down a goal, or whatever."
Andrew Shaw scored twice and Marian Hossa had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks, who trailed 4-2 with 8:46 left in the second period. It was Hossa's 100th goal with Chicago and No. 439 for his career.
The Senators scored three times in a span of four shots in the second, but were unable to hold off the suddenly high-scoring Blackhawks. Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek each had a goal and an assist in Ottawa's fourth loss in five games.
"The things we did to get the lead at 4-2, whether their goalie was good or bad or indifferent, we did a lot of good things to make the score 4-2 and then we stopped doing them," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said.
Toews sparked Chicago's rally when he tested Craig Anderson with 5½ minutes left in the second, and his first attempt popped over the goal. The captain then skated to the back of the net and slammed in a wraparound for his fifth goal of the season.
The Blackhawks kept coming in the third period, and Toews tied it at 4 when he finished off a perfect pass from defenseman Johnny Oduya at 1:20. Toews completed his third career hat trick when he pushed a rebound into an empty net midway through the period for a 5-4 Chicago lead.
"Jonny had a special game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "If you're a fan and you watched him play tonight, you're going to go 'Wow, that was a special performance.'"
Shaw and Ottawa's Zack Smith exchanged goals down the stretch, and the Blackhawks held on for their second victory in as many nights. The defending Stanley Cup champions beat Minnesota 5-1 on Monday.
Clarke MacArthur had two assists for the Senators, and Anderson finished with 34 saves. MacArthur missed Ottawa's previous game with what the team called a minor injury.
"We scored five goals, we should win the game," Anderson said. "We need to take a little bit more pride and keep the puck out of our net and play a little tougher in front of our net."
Ottawa appeared to be in control after one dizzying stretch in the second.
MacArthur sparked the scoring spree when he charged toward the net from the right side, setting up Turris' power-play score from in-close that gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead at 6:51.
Hossa responded 50 seconds later, converting a nice pass from Toews, but Senators were just getting started against the slumping Khabibulin.
Joe Corvo's long slap shot whistled by teammate Bobby Ryan and into the net for his first goal of the season. Then Mika Zibanejad skated past sliding Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith and beat Khabibulin to make it 4-2 at 11:14.
That was enough for Quenneville, who replaced Khabibulin with regular starter Crawford. Khabibulin made 18 saves and has allowed 10 goals while facing 47 shots in his past two games.
"No, I can't really say," Quenneville said when asked if he can pinpoint why Khabibulin is struggling so much. "It was just one of those nights. We'll look at it and try to get better."
Crawford's entry prompted a big cheer from the crowd, and the Blackhawks seemed to feed off the switch.
Sharp had two assists and Toews extended his points streak to five games. Toews has five goals and four assists during the stretch.
"I don't know if it's anything special going on," Toews said. "Sometimes you go through ups and downs when you're scoring and things are going in, and other nights, maybe not so much."
NOTES: C Michal Handzus (upper-body injury) was among the Blackhawks' scratches, and Quenneville said he probably would remain out through this weekend. The 36-year-old Handzus hasn't played since a 6-5 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday. ... The Blackhawks will visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday to celebrate their second Stanley Cup title in four seasons. ... Chicago has one power-play goal in each of the past six games. ... Toews also had a hat trick in the 2010 playoffs against Vancouver.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap