Marian Hossa looks more like himself in Blackhawks' Game 5 win

Marian Hossa looks more like himself in Blackhawks' Game 5 win

Marian Hossa talked about his goal-scoring struggles. They had been there through most of the regular season and continued through the first four games of the first round.

“It’s a little frustration, but also you don’t try to get frustrated because then you’re not playing your way. You also try to stay positive because there are lots of chances,” Hossa said heading into Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues. “Our guys are getting lots of chances. One ugly one and hopefully it’s gonna go in.”

Hossa’s first goal of the postseason wasn’t ugly; it was a slick, short-handed goal that gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. And Hossa’s overall game is what he was looking for and what the Blackhawks needed in their 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Blues. Hossa played just under 25 minutes on Thursday, recording a team-high seven shots on goal and three takeaways.

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The Blackhawks made drastic line changes entering Thursday’s game for several reasons. A few top players, Hossa included, were still looking for their first goal of the postseason. The Blackhawks were down 3-1 in the series and looking for a spark of any kind. And they were trying to figure out a way to contain the Blues’ top line of Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Stopping that Blues’ trio was the Blackhawks’ overall assignment, but fell mainly to Hossa, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Ladd. It worked pretty well. While Schwartz did score on Thursday, the Blackhawks held the other two off the score sheet. That was especially key regarding Tarasenko, who had three goals and two assists in the three previous games.

Bringing Hossa into that equation helped.

“Hoss should be a role model for every single young player. Just to look at him and see how he back-checks and how strong he is with the puck. Still going so strong with his age,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said of the 37-year-old Hossa. “He's one of the most impressive guys that I've been around, the way he works in every single way.”

Perhaps Hossa’s strong Game 5 came with getting moved to the third line, getting a bit of a change. Or maybe, like a few other players, he was just due. Whatever the reason, Hossa made an impact on both sides of the puck. 

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: