The Blackhawks Christmas gift to their fans has been an outstanding stretch of play lately, and Sunday night was simply the latest example. The game was highlighted by a number of players returning to the ice.
Marty Turco made the start when Corey Crawford was lost to illness, and was exceptional. He kept 26 of 27 shots out of the net, including a number of good saves in traffic. He returned to the crease after not making a start since Dec. 13, and hadn’t won since Nov. 17.
Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg also returned. Hossa was named the game’s Number One star with two assists, and looked healthy for the first time since the first couple weeks of the season. He skated 18:11 in the game, including 2:33 short-handed.
Stalberg started the game on a line with Hossa and Tomas Kopecky, but was limited to just over 11 minutes of ice time in the game. He was plus-one for the night.
Kopecky scored the first goal of the game, which tied his career-high at 21 points in only the Blackhawks 37th game. He returned to center for the first start of the year, but won only two of seven faceoffs.
The scoring was led by Patrick Sharp, who added two goals. He now has three goals and two assists in his last four games, and is alone in third in the NHL with 20 goals. Sunday was Sharp’s 11th multi-point game this season.
Also making returns on Sunday night:
- Bryan Bickell returned to the score sheet… for the sixth game in a row and eighth in the last nine.
- Dave Bolland returned to the score sheet and the penalty box. Bolland now has five goals in four games this year, and has drawn a penalty in the last three games in which he’s scored a goal (including the last two Blackhawks games).
- Jonathan Toews also returned to the score sheet with an assist. He has now registered at least one point in 12 of the last 17 games since his hat trick in Edmonton on November 17. In that stretch, he has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists).