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Toews leads Chicago over Phoenix, 'Hawks eye playoffs

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Jonathan Toews scored twice in regulation then added the lone shootout score to push the Chicago Blackhawks firmly into playoff contention with a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.

Last season's Stanley Cup champions squandered a 3-1 lead in the second period then battled through a scoreless third and overtime.

Toews converted Chicago's first shootout attempt and goaltender Corey Crawford stopped all three Phoenix attempts to seal the win.

The Blackhawks (33-23-6) earned their fourth successive win to move into a tie for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We all just understand the situation and we're battling more," defenseman Duncan Keith told reporters. ""We need those points and it shows in how we're playing. We got to keep doing it."

Toews had his first multi-goal game since November 30, striking twice in the first period to give Chicago a 2-0 lead and push his tally to 22 on the season.

Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin halved the deficit early in the second, but Marian Hossa restored Chicago's two-goal lead at 8:14. Keith Yandle and Martin Hanzal scored for Phoenix to tie the game at 3-3 with three minutes left in the second.

Netminder Ilya Bryzgalov kept Phoenix in the game with 38 saves and the Coyotes (33-21-10) remain fourth in the West despite their third consecutive defeat.

Phoenix's slide comes on the heels of a season-high eight-game winning streak.

"Just for us to get one point out of that game, being down, it's a big moral victory for us," Yandle said.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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