Marian Hossa didn’t waste any time showing the rest of the NHL that he is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered last April in the playoffs.
Hossa scored 2 goals and added an assist as the Blackhawks crashed the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup banner-raising party with a 5-2 victory Saturday at Staples Center.
Hossa was one of the goal scorers in the first period when the Hawks took a 3-0 lead, then got an even bigger goal in the third period just 15 seconds after Jordan Nolan’s goal brought the Kings back within 4-2.
“It’s huge for him to start with 2 goals,” said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who had a strong game himself with a goal and an assist despite playing with the flu. Toews finished plus-3 and won 16 of 25 faceoffs in playing almost 19 minutes.
The Hawks, who sat in their dressing room while the Kings got their rings and raised the banner, scored 3 goals on 9 shots in the first period to take a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
“I’m sure it’s easy to get caught up in that, but we weren’t going to take that for granted and assume they were going to start out flat,” Toews told reporters.
“We wanted to make sure we were playing our team game right off the bat. If you score, you score. If you don’t you keep working for those chances. That’s what we did. We were lucky to get a few early and keep the pressure on them for 60 minutes.”
Patrick Kane opened the scoring at 3:41 when he beat goalie Jonathan Quick from a severe angle right during a 5-on-3 power play.
“I just tried to move around and create something,” Kane said. “Hossa made a nice pass back. I was thinking about shooting that one earlier but got the chance again and took it.
“We have to be happy with the way everyone played. It was probably a perfect game, team-wise.”
Goalie Corey Crawford was solid with 19 saves. He was screened on Rob Scuderi’s goal late in the second period that made it 4-1. He was knocked down by teammate Sheldon Brookbank just as Nolan was flipping in a rebound at 9:20 of the third period.
“I was really focused all night,” Crawford said. “My eyes didn’t move from the puck at all.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with the result.
“Scoring first certainly helped, and having a great first period like that,” Quenneville said. “We did a good job with how we played in that first. We had everyone involved, four lines rotating. That’s how you want to start a game, especially on the road.”
Hossa, who assisted on Kane’s goal, and Michal Frolik then scored 1:14 apart to make it a 3-goal lead.
Hossa was looking for Toews when his pass hit the leg of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and evaded Quick at 12:57. Frolik scored at 14:11 when he took a pass from Marcus Kruger and snapped one past Quick from the deep slot.
Toews made it 4-0 a minute into the second period when he punched home a Kane rebound.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook had a big game with 7 blocked shots in 23:01 of ice time. He was plus-1.
Duncan Keith, who will have his minutes watched closely by Quenneville, played 22:44, almost four fewer minutes than he averaged last season.
Hossa’s second goal came 15 seconds after Nolan made it 4-2 and quieted the sellout crowd hoping to see a comeback by the Kings.
Before the game the Kings received their Stanley Cup rings in a lengthy ceremony that concluded with them raising their championship banner to the rafters.
With help from the family of a victim of the Sandy Hook massacre, the Kings hung their black-and-white banner and received their championship rings from Nancy Anschutz, the wife of owner Phil Anschutz.
Then they went out and fell behind 3-0.
“I know the feeling,” said Hossa, remembering back to 2010 when the Hawks lost to Detroit on the night they hung their Cup banner. “You get caught up in the moment and all of a sudden it’s 2-0.”
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