Marian Hossa still has plenty of friends from his days with the Detroit Red Wings. On Friday, the Blackhawks winger competed against them like they were the bitterest of enemies.
Hossa scored the tying goal in a stellar performance, and Brent Seabrook added the game-winner early in the third period of the Blackhawks 3-2 victory over the Wings on Friday night. It was an energetic and entertaining game at the United Center, as the Blackhawks came back from two one-goal deficits to take a five-point lead over the Wings in the Central Division.
And Hossa was, well, Hossa: coming with speed, controlling the puck and generally being a nuisance to the Wings all night.
Ive got lots of friends on the other team, and youre always going to remember that year, to be there, Hossa said. But when I play against former teams I dont think about it different. I try to play the same way.
Hossas ability to control allowed him to set up his own goal. He got to the left circle and let one rip, beating Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard high to tie the game 2-2 at the time.
I got the puck down low and I tried to get my speed and I tried to hit open ice and there was nothing open in the middle so I tried to go around, Hossa said. All of a sudden I was kind of alone so I tried to use the space and tried to release it quick.
It was a strong performance from the Blackhawks across the board, from Jonathan Toews big penalty shot early to the Blackhawks defensive stifling the Wings chances late. And for Seabrook, it was the fourth consecutive game hes scored against the Red Wings.
I dont know what it is, Seabrook said of his streak vs. Detroit. Obviously we have to be prepared for defensive side of the game (against Detroit). Its one of those things; its nice if we can contribute to that end of the ice and get a big win.
The Blackhawks were down 1-0 when Toews was awarded a penalty shot on a Nicklas Lidstrom hook. Toews beat Howard five-hole, tying the game and re-energizing the building.
I couldnt believe I got a second chance on that one but I was thankful for it, Toews said. It was a nice pass by (Niklas Hjalmarsson), I just kind of lost the puck there and the guy got his stick on me. Sometimes they dont always see that but it was nice to get the second chance on the penalty shot and I made no mistake there. It was a good feeling to get that one.
Howard said he figured Toews would go that way.
Thats his move to go five-hole, so I was prepared for it, he said. I just didnt get the legs closed fast enough.
Seabrooks shot gave the Blackhawks the lead just 1:52 into the third period. Thats a long time to try and shut down a potent Detroit team. But the Blackhawks did it, keeping some of their top players to very few opportunities. Henrik Zetterberg had just one shot in the game, Pavel Datsyuk had none.
We were quick in the puck areas, had good sticks, pressured well and had a good gap, so that helped definitely, coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks got that complete game they needed and held tight in the third period. It was a good test against a formidable longtime foe, and the Blackhawks passed.
We were going to stay patient, Toews said. We stuck with it going into the third period. We were confident we were going to use our crowd and energy and find a way to win. We did that.