After watching Marian Hossa net two goals in back to back games this weekend, it’s hard to believe that this was the same player who was being carried off the ice on a stretcher, with his future uncertain, after absorbing a vicious hit from Phoenix’s Raffi Torres at the end of last season.
With reports that Hossa, 34, was still suffering from post-concussion symptoms during what would have been the planned start of the 2012-13 season; there is no doubt that he is one of those players who found a silver lining in the otherwise negative NHL lockout.
This past Saturday afternoon, Hossa and company quickly went back to work and played the role of party crashers to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, who kicked off the day with a lengthy championship banner raising ceremony, their first in franchise history.
At just 3:41 into the first period, during a 5 on 3 power play, Hossa assumed the role of playmaker, with a perfect no look pass to Patrick Kane, who buried his first goal of the season with a slap shot from what looked like an impossible angle, to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. From there the Blackhawks never looked backed and the outcome of the game was never really in doubt.
Hossa would register his first goal of the season, at 12:57 of the first period, when what looked like a centering pass attempt to Jonathan Toews somehow found its way past Jonathan Quick and into the back of the net to put the Blackhawks up 2-0.
After Blackhawk goals by Michael Frolik and Jonathan Toews, which put the Blackhawks ahead 4-0 early in the second period, the Kings’ offense finally awoke with back to back goals from Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan to bring the Kings within two.
Hossa and the Blackhawks responded to this threat quickly, when just 15 seconds later, at 9:35 of the third period, Hossa scored his second goal of the game off a laser of a wrist shot from 45 feet out from goal.
Saturday’s game would end in a 5-2 Blackhawks’ victory.
Late Sunday night, the Blackhawks traveled to Phoenix to exact some revenge on and spoil the home opener of the team that eliminated them in the first round of last season’s playoffs and sent Hossa to the hospital.
With the game tied 2-2 late in the second period, Marian Hossa notched what would prove to be the game winner off a wrist shot that beat goalie Mike Smith. The play was set up beautifully by defenseman and ex-Coyote Michal Rozsival, who looked solid in his debut for the Hawks.
14 Seconds into the third period, Hossa would add to a 4-2 Blackhawk lead when he jammed a puck past a surprised Smith that trickled slowly over the goal line.
The Coyotes did fight back hard and brought the game within one, after quick back to back goals from Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan. However, a key timeout called by Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quennville calmed down the troops and spurred a Blackhawk goal from second line center Dave Bolland just 22 seconds later.
The game would end in a 6-4 Blackhawks’ victory.
When asked about Hossa’s recent performance, Dave Bolland told NHL.com, "He’s been great and he’s playing the same Hossa game he’s always played. He’s one of the best players in the League. Going back to what happened last year, this was a special night for him, to come back and put some goals up."
The Blackhawks next game will be their home opener at the United Center on Tuesday night against Central Division rival the St. Louis Blues. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.