Hossa, Crawford lead the way for Chicago Blackhawks

It's official: We can all stop writing the “Marian Hossa hockey obit” now.

After a year of questions about losing a step, criticism about his poor shooting percentage and debate about whether Hossa is still a top-six forward, the big man looks 10 years younger and completely rejuvenated 11 games into the 2016-17 season.

Hossa's resurgence continued Thursday night as he scored 2 highlight-reel goals in a 4-0 Chicago Blackhawks victory over Colorado at the United Center.

“There's nobody … that played the amount of hockey that he has in the last decade,” Jonathan Toews said. “So I think he's obviously shown that he's used the rest.

“He's come in with tons of confidence. He's having a lot of fun, playing loose and he's scoring. … He worked so hard last year and nothing would go for him. So it's nice to see him play that way.”

Toews put the Hawks (7-3-1) on the board with his first 5-on-5 goal of the season at 14:25 of the first period, then the rest of the night belonged to Hossa and Corey Crawford.

Hossa's first goal, which came just 38 seconds after Toews', was particularly impressive as he fended off Avs defenseman Fedor Tyutin with his left hand while blazing down ice and controlling the puck with his right. From 10 feet away, a falling-down Hossa then simply flipped the puck up and over the glove hand of Semyon Varlamov for his fourth goal of the season.

Hossa came into this year with 499 career goals and admitted that once he scored No. 500 it helped alleviate the pressure he was feeling to get it done.

“It's nice to have those things behind (you), and you can just focus on another day, another game,” he said. “You don't have to think about chasing one goal or having a ceremony. It was beautiful and everything, but now (let's) move on.”

The game stayed 2-0 for the next 25 minutes, thanks in large part to Crawford. He continues to amaze with incredible saves night after night, finishing this one with 38.

Crawford's best moments came late in the second period when he stoned Matt Duchene on a partial breakaway, then stopped 3 machine-gun-like shots from Patrick Wiercioch, Mikhail Grigorenko and Francois Beauchemin in a span of just four seconds.

The Hawks' goalie has allowed just 5 goals in his last five games while going 4-0-1 with a .970 save percentage.

“If we can win 4-0 playing like that, it's a good thing,” said Toews, completely aware that the Hawks were outshot 11-1 in the game's first 12:47. “We've got to give our goaltender a lot of credit there. I mean he's making some big stops and (it) could go a different way and (then) we're in a tight game.”

Hossa's second goal — and fifth overall — came after he took a perfect feed from Keith, once again showed off his trademark speed and wristed a shot that beat Varlamov top shelf.

“He never really looks like he's slowing down at any time,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “The finish around the net was nice to see; 2 outstanding shots.”

The Avs (4-5-0) fell for the fourth time in five games. Varlamov, who lost for just the second time in his last 11 decisions to the Hawks, has dropped four straight overall.

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