Toews missed last season with chronic immune response syndrome (CIRS). The 33-year-old center had the secondary assist on Dominik Kubalik's goal to tie the game 1-1 at 16:50 of the first period. Toews was 15-of-21 on face-offs and played 22:48.
Toews last played in an NHL game during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs quarterfinals against the Vegas Golden Knights more than 14 months ago in Edmonton.
Bobby Ryan scored the game-winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout. He also sent the game to overtime when he tied it 3-3 with 1:51 remaining and goalie Calvin Pickard pulled for an extra skater.
Michael Rasmussen and Mitchell Stevens scored for Detroit. Thomas Greiss allowed three goals on 15 shots, and Pickard made 24 saves in relief.
Brandon Hagel and Jujhar Khaira scored 1:37 apart in the second period for Chicago. Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves on 33 shots. Notably, forward Patrick Kane and defenseman Seth Jones, who was acquired from the Blue Jackets this offseason, did not play.
Toews tapped the puck from along the boards to the left face-off circle for Philipp Kurashev, who sent a pass to the slot for Kubalik to score on his backhand.
Kirby Dach sent a pass between two Detroit defenders to the slot for Hagel, who had his shot deflect off Donovan Sebrango and between Greiss' legs.
Khaira redirected Connor Murphy's shot from the right point between Rasmussen's legs and past Greiss. The Blackhawks signed Khaira to a two-year, $1.95 million contract in July.
Toews and Lukas Reichel scored for Chicago in the shootout, while Kurashev and Dach each had their shots saved. Toews' score was a vintage five-hole shootout goal.
What's On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks play a home-and-home back-to-back against the Blues on Friday and Saturday. The first game will be in Chicago, and the second at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri, near Kansas City. Puck drop on Friday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CDT.