Blackhawks

Hossa enjoys a happy All-Star homecoming

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Hossa enjoys a happy All-Star homecoming

Updated: Sunday, Jan. 29 at 7:24 p.m.

KANATA, Ontario The applause hit Marian Hossa as soon as he stepped onto the ice at ScotiaBank Place this weekend. It was, as he called it, warm and welcoming, a fitting greeting for the forward who began his career here back in the late 1990s.

For Hossa, his fifth NHL All-Star Game appearance had special meaning mainly because of the location. The Chicago Blackhawks forward, who had a goal and two assists in Team Charas 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson on Sunday, has never forgotten those first several years he spent with the Ottawa Senators.

And it was apparent this weekend that Senators fans have not forgotten him.

It was awesome, Hossa said about the weekend. Actually when I found out the game was here and I was picked, I was looking forward to it. Its not just another game. Its a special place to come.

It was an entertaining weekend for both Blackhawks forwards. Patrick Kane took center stage with his breakaway competition-winning Superman moment on Saturday and he added a goal to Team Charas victory on Sunday.

And Hossa just reveled in the four days here. Outside of his All-Star duties, he found time to visit friends that he still has in town. On the ice, he was part of Team Charas lethal top line with Pavel Datsyuk and fellow Slovak Marian Gaborik, who earned MVP honors with his hat trick and assist.

We just tried to move the puck and Gabby scored the first two quick goals, Hossa said. After that we just had fun. We were hoping he got the MVP.

In other words, Hossa wasnt too broken up about not getting that car the MVP is awarded.

That wasnt on my agenda, but Im glad I could help somebody get one, he said. We had good chemistry tonight and we got the MVP on our line, so that was our goal.

Hossas mind will probably be back to regular-season hockey as soon as he heads back to Chicago Sunday night. A game with the Vancouver Canucks looms on Tuesday. But for the last four days, Hossa enjoyed the place he once called home and the Ottawa faithful made him feel like it was that again.

I always had good memories here, he said. I guess people dont forget.

3 Takeaways: Jonathan Toews grabs 4 points, Blackhawks grab 4-straight wins

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USA Today

3 Takeaways: Jonathan Toews grabs 4 points, Blackhawks grab 4-straight wins

Streaking Hawks

The Blackhawks won their fourth straight game on Saturday in Toronto 6-2. The victory gave the Hawks a perfect three-game sweep to close out their road trip in Eastern Canada. 

The Hawks won 3-2 against the Senators in Ottawa on Tuesday and 4-1 over the Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday. 

Chicago is now three games over .500 (23-20-6) and four points out of a Wild Card spot. 

Drake Caggiula scored 21 seconds in to set the tone and put the Hawks ahead 1-0 with a trick shot, bouncing the puck over goalie Frederik Andersen's back, from behind the goal line and later picked up an assist. Caggiula has points in two straight after grabbing a goal and an assist in Montreal.

His energy and buzz around the net has been incredibly noticeable and something that's given Chicago a lift during the streak and since he returned from a concussion five games ago. 

The Blackhawks play the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday and the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (Q!!!!), both at the United Center before the All-Star break. 

Saad returns

Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad returned to the lineup after being sidelined since Dec. 19 with a right-ankle injury. The Hawks were missing the winger who can be effective anywhere in the lineup and was one of the most consistently good players on the team prior to his injury.

Saad was given a big opportunity on Saturday, being thrown on the left wing of the Hawks' second line with Ryan Carpenter centering and Patrick Kane on the right. 

Saad had 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 36 games with the Hawks this season before being injured. On Saturday, he scored at 11:02 of the first period, putting the Hawks up 3-0 and giving Kane, who assisted on the goal, career point No. 999.

Johnny be good

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews kept up his stellar play of late and extended his point streak to five games, grabbing four points in Toronto. 

Toews scored five-hole on Andersen at 5:32 of the first period, then scored on a wraparound at 3:19 of the second. He later assisted on Dominik Kubalik's goal to put the Hawks up 5-1 at 10:58 of the second.

Toews also set up Kubalik's marker at 17:42 of the second to give Chicago a 6-2 lead, backhanding the puck towards the net from the right wall to Kubalik, who hit it in cleanly with his blade in mid-air past Andersen.

Toews has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) during his streak. 

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2014 Western Conference Final between Blackhawks and Kings named "Series of the Decade"

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AP

2014 Western Conference Final between Blackhawks and Kings named "Series of the Decade"

On Saturday, NHL.com named the 2014 Western Conference Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and LA Kings the "Series of the Decade." 

They hit the nail on the head.

In that seven-game battle, you're talking about the two best teams of the decade each around their prime slugging it out for all of us to enjoy. Oh, and overtime in Game 7 to decide who'd play for the Stanley Cup in the Final... 

The Hawks won Game 1 3-1 at the United Center, then lost Game 2 6-2 in Chicago after the Kings scored six unanswered goals and Jeff Carter had a hat trick. The Blackhawks lost 4-3 in Game 3 and 5-2 in Game 4, both of those contests were at the Staples Center in LA.

Trailing the series 3-1, Michal Handzus scored 2:04 into overtime to help the Hawks to a 5-4 win at the UC. Patrick Kane scored with less than four minutes remaining in the third period in Game 6 in LA to give Chicago a 4-3 win with Game 7 set for the United Center.

The Hawks had an early 2-0 lead in Game 7, but Alec Martinez's wrist shot deflected off Nick Leddy and into Chicago's net past Corey Crawford for a 5-4 Kings' victory.  

LA went on to the Stanley Cup Final and beat the New York Rangers in five games.

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