Hossa Returns, Hawks Handle Red Wings

Marian Hossa returned from injury and scored his 25th goal of the season as the Hawks handled Detroit 3-1 on Sunday night.

Nick Leddy opened the scoring with a power play marker in the second period. It was his seventh of the season, with assists going to Hossa and Ben Smith. A little more than six minutes later, Guztav Nyqvist scored a power play goal for the Wings, shooting the puck off Brent Seabrook’s skates and past Corey Crawford. Smith scored with 14 seconds left in the middle frame to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.

With Hossa back, coach Joel Quenneville threw his lines into a blender once again and Smith responded to a great opportunity. Quenneville started the game with Smith between Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell, and he played well with two points and winning seven of 10 faceoffs.

In the third period, Hossa exploded and beat Jimmy Howard to extend the Hawks’ lead to 3-1. Later in the third, he undressed Johan Franzen and fed Jonathan Toews for a short-handed goal to make the score 4-1. Hossa finished the night with three points, one blocked shot and two takeaways.

Duncan Keith registered two assists in the game, giving him 50 on the season.

There was a lot to be happy about in the game, but Brandon Saad disappeared late in the second period and did not return for the third. Brandon Bollig saw increased ice time in the third while Saad was out and played effectively, leading the team with five hits.

After the game, Quenneville said Saad, “seemed all right. I don’t think it’s too serious but we’ll have a better idea tomorrow.” The injury was labeled upper-body.

Johnny Oduya led the team with four blocked shots, while Michal Handzus contributed three. The Hawks allowed only 20 shots to get to Corey Crawford, blocking 11 on the night. Crawford was very good throughout the game, making 19 stops for his 26th win of the campaign.

Handzus skated on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Bollig for most of the game, and that threesome worked well. Kruger won four of seven faceoffs while Handzus won six of nine in the victory.

Jimmy Howard allowed four goals against 30 shots in the loss.

Chicago will play in Philadelphia on Tuesday night before hosting St. Louis on Wednesday night. The Blues will be without forward Vladimir Tarasenko for at least six weeks; a hand injury suffered against Nashville this weekend will require surgery.

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45 Responses to Hossa Returns, Hawks Handle Red Wings

  1. Peter says:

    I’m so glad the hawks have used their buyouts so we never have to hear about buying out Hossa again. Damn. He is a hockey player.

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    Hossa – welcome back, stick around, stay awhile.

    Didn’t see what happened to Saad. I thought he looked dazed from that Kronwall hit in the 1st period but I’m pretty sure he played after that. So, maybe he got dinged and tried to play through it and didn’t feel right or it was something else. Anyone see anything where Saad got injured. Supposedly Q said upper body, nothing too serious, day to day.

    Anyway, it was nice to get on the winning track again. A win is a win, even if it is against an injury depleted team.

    Tuesday in Phily. Phily just beat Pittsburgh in a back to back so they’re on a liitle bit of a roll. Maybe they’ll have a little emotional letdown after beating their cross state rivals twice. Course, the Hawks could be looking ahead to the Blues Wednesday too, so …

  3. MS says:

    How about that Ben Smith! Our new 2C center has been under our nose this whole time. Seriously, I thought he played very well and I hope we get to see more of the lines we were rolling before Saad left the game. This was the most physical game we have played in a while and the concerted effort to have net front presence was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Bickell looked much better and had several strong hits. Oh yeah Hossa was fricking unbelievable – please let him stay healthy the rest of the way.

    Let’s hope we can build on this momentum for big games with Philly and the Blues.

  4. noonan96 says:

    Good win by the Hawks-wow was Hossa awesome-a beast physically and so talented. Although he scored the last goal I thought Toews was a little off tonight and I wonder if it was the hit by the Mule (ass).
    Crawford made some big saves when he had to-hope he continues to come up big the rest of the week. Smith continues to work and get better-I bet his teammates love him!
    I can’t remember which one but one of the power plays by the hawks tonight might have been the worst I’ve seen this year-

  5. wall says:

    noonan- that 1st PP was the worst… and 19 was falling down a lot- totally noticeable…I think Babcock really knows how to frustrate 19…

    Bickell skated well, fastest he has moved all year…

    Who is that really smart guy that said 28 should get some time w/ 88???

    Hossa is pretty good at hockey!!!!!!

    I hope Saad is OK!!! I hate it when he plays Right Wing ( and I do think it was that hit by 55 on Right boards that got him.)

    10/19/81
    29/28/88
    20/TT/65
    52/16/26 or 23

    or
    10/19/23
    29/28/88
    20/TT/81
    52/16/65

  6. JS says:

    Seabrook owes Crawford so many dinners.

    Bickell is rounding into shape. This comes as a giant shock because no one here said anything about it taking a while to recover from knee injuries/playing time is the most important form of recovery. He’s actually able to get to people in time to hit them and is parking his ass in front of the net.

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the Smith goal, Bickell and Smith were parked right in front of the net and there was nothing Detroit could do to move them. It’s like trying to push aside a fire hydrant and an oak tree.

    I really hope Saad didn’t try to play through a concussion.

    Hawks got a lot of lucky bounces tonight, makes up for the complete lack of luck the last few weeks.

  7. Mining Man says:

    Seabrook does indeed owe Crawford many dinners…he has six goals and thats one less that he has directed into our own net…such is the lot of the defensemen…bad puck luck falling on one guy? Cost Cory 2 shutouts now that I know of. Well thats nitpicking stuff for sure. The Blackhawks were obviously talked to, charged up with the return of Hossa and the new lines clicked pretty good. They dominated the game, Crawford was magnificent and they looked the Blackhawks we know. Let us hope Saad is ok. Tests coming with the back to backs…cannot wait for the St. Louis matchup. Hope we shellack them…its overdue and the timing is right.

  8. morrison says:

    Peter, good one on the buyout thing. This win is nice, it puts the trolls back in their place where they belong.

    I think someone hit Saader because I saw him stick a guy between the legs & he would never do something like that unless someone to a cheap shot at him first.

    Marion F?cking Hossa. This is how we answer the door in mr. Hoss’s neighborhood, Whooo… is it.

    Bicks is starting to come together. In 2nd gear now and when he gets going look out.

  9. morrison says:

    Just imagine how good the Blackhawks would be, if they could get away with the quantity of interference and holding the redwings do get away with.

  10. Tim G says:

    Great game last night by pretty much the entire roster. As i said before, the sky was never fallingfalling… we just hit a rough patch. Its a long season and rough patches are bound to happen. Last night looked like a turning point for this skid, so lets hope they can build on it!

  11. Peter says:

    There was a lot of “game” interference by the Wings.

    Let me say this on the Toews hit. He got lined up…and it was a good, hard hit. He didn’t look up or get out of the way and that is his fault.

    In turn, I thought the Hawks hit well against the Wings…which we usually seem to do. Is it because they are one team we are consistently bigger than? The physical style of play will be a necessity against Philly and the Blues.

  12. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Excellent team effort across the roster. Hossa was a difference maker right away. Hopefully Saad injury isn’t serious. I like the fourth line w zus. I thought zus had a decent game. Zus has a place,…4th line and limited special teams. Against a slower physical team like Detroit he can be effective. Against quick teams like the Avs he can look like a turnstile. Nice the Hawks got back in the win column. Now let’s hope the finish strong down the stretch. Still dredding that Avs matchup

  13. Mike says:

    I loved the win cause I hate the Wings. But I am not doing cartwheels. A team with half their regulars out and relying on even some second tier rookies hung around longer than they should have. It took the better part of 2 periods for the Hawks to separate themselves from the Wings. This is exactly why Babcock was Canada’s coach. If the Wings make the playoffs Babcock is a shoe in for coach of the year.

  14. AJ says:

    Bickell had a great game, especially along the boards. Should be full throttle by playoffs.

    It was nice to beat the Wings and it was nice their best players are injured.

    I think Rundblad is on a two way deal. Cap math is weird.

  15. Phil says:

    Apart from a slow start that likely was the result of some different line combos, the effort was much improved. It was a game the Hawks should have won given the injury report list on the Wings. Babcock gets credit for keeping Detroit competitive.

    Hossa means so much to the Hawks. He got better as the game progressed, and was moving really well. His infusion into the lineup makes a huge difference. You have to love his game. Ben Smith had a fantastic game. Versteeg had better jump, and I thought Bicks and Bollig played well. Bickell progress is steady the past 3-5 games and a real positive as we look to playoffs. Good to see him on the upswing. The guy needs more ice time.

    One would think TT will be on board either tomorrow or Wednesday. We have 3 games in 4 days. Philly appears to be playing well, so Hawks need to be ready and of course the Blues hit town on Wednesday. Seeing Terasenko go down for a long stretch is a downer for the blue notes.

    Net presence was so much better by the Hawks. They cannot be content with trying to simply out-finesse teams that are committed to reducing passing lanes and clogging up the area between the circles. When 2 hawks players get down low and effectively screen opposing keepers good things happen when shots get through. The greasy goals count just as much as highlight reel tape to tape stuff and actually discourage opposing teams because it makes their d men work harder.

    Didn’t see Saad get hurt. Hopefully just dinged up. Toews did get rocked when he got caught with his head down by Franzen, but he skated off from that shift looking more embarrassed than hurt. Wall makes a good point in that Babcock game plan is effective in slowing down the Cpt. and making him work extra hard.

    It could be that as I get older I am becoming less tolerant at Hawks games with the crowds. Sunday night early starts tend to be kid friendly which is fine, but parents that bring crabby, whiny children that are too young to pay attention for more than 2 minutes should reconsider and wait a few years before bringing the youngsters. I had the misfortune of dealing with this next me me last night, and it was rough for everyone sitting within screaming distance of this mess. It isn’t the kids fault, it is the clueless parents, whom meanwhile seemed to care less about the game as it was. Of course they bought bags full of Hawks stuff to take home.

    Rant over sorry….I still love going to the games.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  16. Sr. Brad says:

    This simply shows you what Hossa brings to the Hawks, even more so that Toews…and hopefully Hossa’s actions taught the rest of the Hawks that the best way to create offence is through strong defence and back checking…this is the Hawks game, and we get away from with Hoss out of the lineup…he is still an elite Hockey player and in many ways the straw the stirs the drink.

    And how about the wake up call to Patrick Sharp…he was all over the ice, and that new 3rd line with Saad and Shaw, had TONS of puck possession before Brandon was hurt. If we can keep Bicks on the 2nd line with Kaner and TT/Smith, we are going to be tough to beat, because we are right back to 4 lines rolling…now let’s just all hope that Saad is okay. JS, I think you are right…Saad tried to play through a likely concussion after the Kronwall hit.

    As a lot of us have mentioned here time and again, Ben Smith is a very good hockey player…he turned that new 2nd line into a good unit that had lots of puck possession and quality chances, instead of a liability…Smith and Bicks tied up their men and gave Kane a lot of free ice to skate around in…this is going to pay big dividends in time…4 good lines all who control the puck!

    Thank goodness Zus was relegated to the 4th line…and before anyone starts thinking that he has a home there, I caught at least 3 instances while he was in his own defensive zone last night and gave up high quality scoring chances against simply by being TOO SLOW to intercept a pass, or to check the puck carrier…the best example was in the 2nd period, and DET had puck possession down low in our zone, and the DET player made a dangerous cross ice pass back to the point, and the puck went right past Zus to the DMan who created a good scoring chance…ANY other Hawk player would have intercepted that pass for a breakaway chance, but not Zus…on the delayed DET penalty in the DET zone, Zus passed the puck from the corner while our extra man raced on to the ice, and Zus promptly, for no reason, skated directly to the middle of the point (because the 2 DMen were already at the point) and watched the rest of our forwards try and create a scoring chance…unbelievable…sorry, but the game has passed him by…when TT arrives, how can you justify an extra roster spot for Zus ahead of Regin…and again, I am not a Regin fan and he’s not a very good player, but he is FAR better than Zus and far more versatile.

    As Mike mentioned it is far from time to start doing cartwheels, and a lot of Hawk players need to build their confidence levels back up, but if Saad is okay, and we continue to roll 4 lines, this team is going to continue to win, and NOTHING brings back self confidence faster than W’s…

    Good job by the coaches and players to look at some different solutions and then execute it on the ice…

    As Wall and others mentioned, Bicks has looked good for a couple of weeks now…did you notice the look on Bicks face last night? The same look during last year’s playoffs, pissed off…and that’s good news for the Hawks…

    Wall were you joking with your lineups showing Versteeg and Zus splitting time on the 4th line??? Yikes…

  17. Phil says:

    By the way, if there was a funny moment with the screaming kids and clueless parents sitting next to me last night, it was the 4 year old kid saying “Detroit sucks”.

  18. JS says:

    Phil- kids are the worst, even moreso at sporting events.

    As far as where to get the money for TT. Rundblad is on a 1 way, he can’t be sent down. The Hawks either have to put Brookbank on waivers, or send down Raanta and recall Labarbera. I think this second option is more likely.

  19. michael petan says:

    Hockey is Simple, Hawks tuff to beat with this level of Net Presence and Physical Play. Bickel is Back for sure, Bolig has proved his worth once again and over all GOING to the net was vastly improved. Smith as most young players will play UP TO the talent on the wings. Smith and Shaws net presence is the difference.Our Point men / D – men took quicker shots from the point also, not too much holding the puck tonight, faster decisions! Hossa played great but shows he needs rest at times thru the year, when he gets these injury layoffs he comes back strong, Q’s gotta do a better job on his ice time. Zus shows why he’s here every night, slow but effective and can block shots with the best and not go off limping.

  20. Tim G says:

    10-19-88
    20-TT-81
    29-28-65
    52-16-23
    IMO, That is the best line up we can hope for…

    The top line will be loaded. 20/81 are responsible Defensively while TT adjusts. If Smith will be that effective as a Center… let him play with Bicks and Shaw… how much of a grinder line is that if Bicks has the file lit (could be a big if)!… 4th line good enough to roll effecitivly.

  21. Phil says:

    I like your line combos Tim.

  22. AJ says:

    Sigh… While it was nice to win, Detroit is in pretty terrible shape right now. Yay for closing out a game but it really isn’t that great of an accomplishment. Hopefully they can build on some of the positives and get some more luck later this week.

    Ben Smith is a solid 4th line player, and would probably be an average 3rd line player on most teams. All teams need those type of players but if that is more than a few game solution to 2C than someone in the front office or the coaching staff is drunk.

    It is a stupefying notion that Kruger hasn’t been given an opportunity there. Especially since he is one of the “two natural centers” (three if you count Sharp since he spent a majority of his early career there but that is obviously a moot point) in the line up that aren’t named Handzus.

    Chris Block has a nice summary of Pirri’s career in Rockford and the goofy things the Hawks do with centers they draft.

  23. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Obviously, very big to get Hossa back. But I won’t read terribly much into a sound victory over an injury-ravaged Detroit club.

    I was at the UC and saw the Saad hit in my direct sight. I would guess he is going to miss a few games because that play was ferocious. Hopefully he heals quick.

    Bickell is rounding into shape? I guess I will have to disagree with that vehemently. He floated last night more than anything. Yes he got his sheepish cowardly ass in front of the net a bit more, but overall Bollig played a much better game that the $4 million dollar man.

    Bollig needs to be given credit. Long overdue in fact. Works his ass off and has become a superlative fourth line LW. Needs to bang the body a bit more and work also on getting in front of the net, but he’s become a fan favorite at the UC. As should be the case.

    Handzus played well last night. Excellent at the dot and on defense and on the PK. But hey, we’ll have to listen to Sr. Brad’s fucking parrot tell us how Brandon Pirri is tearing it up in hockey purgatory…big fucking deal that he can be a one dimensional goal scoring whore on the shittiest team in hockey. Hockey is about skating ability, two way play, faceoff wins, offensive creation for linemates, etc.

    BRAUCKKK !!!

  24. wall says:

    AJ-28 does 2 things better than 16- and they make him a better possibility for 2nd C…
    28 shoots/finishes much better… and 28 is much stronger on puck…
    I love 16- but Smith is much stronger/heavier body. He goes to the net and finishes the garbage rebound-cuz he is low to the ground/thick bodied guy.

    Is 28 the long term solution? Probably -no…but he has looked decent compared to 26 in past two games!!!

  25. wall says:

    I am loving the possibility of 28 as 2nd C… and TT w/ 20/81 as 3rd C…
    My earlier mentioned Lines give Hawks 3 solid # 2 lines-IMO

  26. JS says:

    Rufus, flat out, you’re an idiot. Handzus no longer helps with any dimensions when he is playing every game. Handzus can no longer skate, he has no two way play since he is an absolute zero in the offensive zone and has trouble with defensive coverage in the defensive zone, is winning less than 48% of his draws this year, and has assisted on a total of 0 Patrick Kane goals this year.

    Handzus has 12 freaking points in 48 games with most of those games played with one of the most dynamic scorers in the NHL. To try to say he’s a two way player is just ridiculously stupid. He’s also one of the only negatives on the team.

    You… are… an… idiot.

    Bickell’s 5v5 close Corsi last night ~76%. The best on the team. Yep. Definitely loafing out there. Brandon Bollig last night? The worst Corsi on the team. Yep. Definitely had a great game.

    If you’ve watched as much hockey as you’ve claimed over the last 15 decades or whatever it is, you really don’t know what the hell you’re watching.

  27. JS says:

    Wall- I really like the way that second line has been playing the last few games. Bickell being back to skating and Ben Smith getting to the front/winning board battles/winning faceoffs is setting up really nice for Kane. Again, I don’t think it’s a long term answer, but it’s worked well the last two games. We’ll have to see how it looks when they go against a team with a pulse.

    As far as where Ben Smith should fit on a team, I don’t really know. We’ve seen 61 games of his this year, and I don’t really know what he doesn’t do well. He plays strong along the boards, good enough skater, gets to the front of the net, decent passer, blocks shots. I really feel like he can be plugged into a lineup anywhere and be fine.

  28. MS says:

    Ben Smith has earned every opportunity he has received. He has been given nothing. He is the ultimate professional and I agree with JS, he can play anywhere in the lineup. I hope he gets more chances at the center position as he has proven to be excellent on face-offs and his lower body strength makes him very difficult to move in front of the net. Kruger is a very talented player with a great future, however he doesn’t have the hands that Smith has. A good example was the breakaway 16 had last night when he shot wide by about 10 feet. He needs to develop finishing skills to go to the next level.

  29. Sr. Brad says:

    I agree with JS…I too really don’t know what he can’t do, because he’s done everything he has been asked…and like Wall, I think Smith can be much more than just a 1 or 2 game answer at 2nd line centre…the kid has skill, he has smarts, he skates well, he passes well, he’s strong on the puck and he crashes the net…as I said earlier, I think that 2nd line is the key…if we can have Bickell on the 2nd line with Kaner and Smith…keep Versteeg on the the top line with Toews and Hossa, then that 3rd line becomes as good as some team’s top line…Shaw, Sharp and Saad (The Triple S’s) could very well be the difference maker for us in the playoffs…and Sharp worked his a$$ off last night on that line…the 4th line is always good…

    For me, there is tons of hope for the Hawks repeating now that Zus will become a marginal skater…and TTs scheduled to arrive soon…very exciting…

  30. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I think Coach Q is hoping that the Zus from the playoffs shows up again, and he very well might. I wasn’t expecting anything from him last playoffs and he showed up game in and game out. Zus was NEVER a star player but he was a very good player early in his career. If he can bring half of what he brought last yr in the playoffs the Hawks will be good but as I said before that Avs matchup is scary if Zus skates on that 2nd line with Kane.

    Any new news on Tuevo? I heard the Hawks brass was discussing his addition after last nights game.

  31. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks beat up on a wounded Detroit club. I’d relax just a touch on Ben Smith being the salvatation at Center. Lets see what happens against the likes of St. Louis, Colorado and the 3 California clubs before we pronounce the solution has been identified.

    Detroit is missing Datysuk AND Zetterberg right now. In addition to several vital role players, to include Cleary.

    The Hawks still have substantial issues right now.

  32. Phil says:

    SSHM, I wish I could agree with you concerning Zus. The problem is I don’t believe 26 has the ability to skate at even half the speed of where he skated at last year in the playoffs. The video does not lie. His game is still ok, he just can’t get from a to b like he did as recently as last year. It is a big dropoff, huge. Zus should not skate against the Avs IMO even though he does some things well.

    Wish it were otherwise.

  33. JS says:

    I’d really like to see Sharp or Versteeg start getting some PK shifts with Kruger, otherwise I don’t understand who Q removes from the lineup come playoff time once TT arrives.

    Handzus taking regular shifts against Colorado seems like a recipe for disaster.

  34. AJ says:

    Whelp the Hawks don’t play any of the California teams again unless they meet in the playoffs. They Play STL twice and that is really the only team of consequence. Two games against Pittsburgh and one left against Boston and I think one against Montreal in the East. One against Minnesota. Soooooo 3 games with some meaning and 7 total against playoff teams to close out the year.

    Strength of schedule is pretty meh to close out the season.

  35. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Just to clarify if Q skates Zus on the fourth line with Kruger and Bollig that’s good. If he starts skating him any higher and for more minutes that’s very very bad! Zus is nothing more then a 4th liner at this point in his career.

  36. Sr. Brad says:

    Again, I agree JS…I was advocating this a couple of weeks ago…the 6 PKers the Hawks should field are Toews, Hoss, Kruger, Smith, Saad, Versteeg…

    There was a big article today on Versteeg who said that he came back from his ACL too soon, and he regrets it…although his substandard play in FLA lead to him being dealt to CHI…he said that the Olympic break did wonders for his knee and that for the first time since the surgery he is skating strong and pain free…I think that Steeger is more than ready for a bigger role with the Hawks, and I love him on that top line and Sharp on the 3rd…

    BTW…Big Buff scored his 18th and 19th goals last night for WIN and Frolik potted his 14th…nice to see all the former Hawks doing well…I guess dufus WIN isn’t the joke that you said they were…

    Nice to see that you were dead wrong on Ben Smith too…and that putz Jimmy Hayes…1st star yesterday against the Canuckleheads with 2 goals, 4 hits, 1 for 1 at the dot, and skating 18 minutes…ah, but I forgot, FLA is a joke…

  37. Sr. Brad says:

    Rufus, I am wondering if the hit you saw was the same one that I did…I saw Kronwall hit Saad hard on the side boards and Saad struggle to skate off the ice…was there another hit on him that I missed? Saad is a player we cannot afford to not have…we need him for Wednesday and STL…

  38. morrison says:

    What I like about Wall lines is that if we need or want we can flip 20 & 81 with 10 & 23 to have that monster checking line. I also think that if Versteeger play better on line 1 and Sharpy plays as good on other line then its better overall. Holy Quality Balance.

    10-19-23
    29-28-88
    20-86-81
    52-16-65

  39. Tab Bamford says:

    Just a note for the folks getting hot & bothered after Jimmy Hayes scored twice yesterday: he’s scored in 3 different games since Dec. 20…

  40. morrison says:

    I do think a 3rd line of 10-86-20 could be amazing.

  41. JS says:

    Tab- That’s still more than Handzus. hah

  42. wall says:

    Morrison- I just don’t think Saad looks as good on RW as he does on LW…
    and he got crushed on RW!!!

  43. Phil says:

    Kronwalled…

  44. morrison says:

    Yea, if Saader is not as safe of that side of rink. Plus he has smoked people on LW with moves/jukes, has he done any like that on R.

  45. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, Jimmy Hayes is one of those players that it takes a while (0r never) for the light to come on, and realize the talent/strength he has…maybe Hayes is starting to do it…he was the best player on the ice Sunday against a very good team…big minutes, big net presence, used the body well…hopefully this is a sign that the lights coming on for him…as for “crying” for Hayes, not at all…we have a championship roster that is designed to win now and it wasn’t going to happen here for Hayes who needs time…its just good to see he and Pirri do well…both are great kids.

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