Hossa the hero again as Blackhawks beat Stars

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Hossa the hero again as Blackhawks beat Stars

DALLAS Patrick Kane saw just enough of Marian Hossa out of the corner of his eye. That apparently was all he needed to see. A quick behind-the-back pass to an open Hossa, shot, score, and the Blackhawks kept their great start intact.

Hossa had the power-play game-winner 1:41 into overtime, and Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews also scored power-play goals in the Blackhawks 3-2 victory on Thursday night. The Blackhawks, down 2-0 early, came back to improve to 4-0-0, their best start in 40 years.

Kane, who has been strong to start the season, chose pass over shot.

(Hossa) made a nice pass in the slot and I wanted to fake the defenseman; I was going to try to get a shot myself, Kane said. But he ended up just staying there. I saw (Hossa) out of the corner of my eye and it worked out.

Said Hossa, this was our first really big test, coming from behind, and we didnt quit. It was huge.

Yes it was definitely a test, and Kari Lehtonen was the man making life so difficult for the Blackhawks. The Stars goaltender was tremendous on Thursday, stymieing the Blackhawks and most of their 41 shots. But instead of getting frustrated, the Blackhawks just kept playing. And shooting.

It was almost fun to watch how good he was playing. I know its scary to say, Kane said. He was just making acrobatic save after acrobatic save.

Then the Blackhawks got a break when, on a second-period power play, Sharps pass went off Stars defenseman Trevor Daleys stick and past Lehtonen. Toews tied the game with less than six minutes remaining. Then in overtime, Kanes dazzling pass to Hossa finished the comeback.

We can talk about that one for a long time, coach Joel Quenneville said of Kanes pass. He had eyes behind his head because he saw Hoss. Everybody thought it was on the left side, including me, and he pulls that off. Hoss doesnt waste it; he buries it. Its a special ending.

Hossa, who knows Lehtonen from their Atlanta days, shot where the Blackhawks said they should target the goaltender.

We were talking about going low blocker on him and it seems like everyone went high glove, said Hossa, who beat Lehtonen on the blocker side. But he played unbelievable and we were lucky to get this win.

Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 23 for his third victory of the season, including a penalty shot on Ryan Garbutt.

He actually came in pretty quick, so I didnt have a lot of time, Crawford said. He went for the backhand and just quickly and tried to roof it. So I had to do the splits there and I just got a piece of it.

And Duncan Keith got a piece of another one. The Stars were looking to go up 3-1 as seconds ticked away in the second period and Alex Goligoskis shot trickled through Crawfords pads and toward the end. But Duncan Keith shoved the puck out of the crease in time.

It was just a quick play and happened to be in a spot where I could get it, Keith said. They moved it around well and (the puck) snuck through Crow there, but I was lucky to get my stick on it.

A little luck never hurts, but the Blackhawks deserve credit for continuing with what got them all those shot opportunities throughout the game. It worked, and theyre off to a flying start.

I think we had a lot of good chances out there, even though we were down by two, Keith said. We stuck with it, kept playing. We were opportunistic.

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Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Bruins

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Bruins

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night:

1. A sluggish start.

The Blackhawks have gotten off to some solid starts lately, scoring the game's first goal in the opening frame in five of their last six contests heading into Friday. But they were lucky to get out of the first in a 0-0 tie this time.

They had 15 shot attempts (six on goal) through the first 20 minutes while the Bruins had 30 attempts (17 on goal). Fortunately for the Blackhawks, Scott Darling stopped all of them that came his way.

Boston's third line of Ryan Spooner, Riley Nash and David Backes dominated possession, leading all skaters with a plus-12 Corsi in the period.  

2. Scott Darling steals two points.

Joel Quenneville decided to go with Darling in an effort to give a slumping Corey Crawford a chance to reset, and the Lemont native an opportunity to play in front of his father away from home, where he's used to watching him shine. It's safe to say he made his papa proud by putting on a great show.

Darling turned aside all 30 shots he faced, including 17 in the first period, for his second shutout of the season and fourth of his career. He has now allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his last 12 starts. 

Asked after the game whether he will earn a second straight start Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks, Quenneville responded, "We'll see."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. Special teams not a factor.

In a game that featured only one goal, you'd think the way to crack the scoresheet would be on the man advantage. That didn't happen.

The Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Bruins failed to cash in on their only two opportunities. Boston entered the contest by going 7-for-17 on the power play in their previous five games, good for a 41.2 success rate.

It was a nice bounce-back game for the Blackhawks' penalty kill unit, which allowed a goal on the man advantage in their previous two games.

4. Third line steps up at crucial moment.

The Blackhawks' third line of Vinnie Hinostroza, Marian Hossa and Tanner Kero had the worst possession numbers among all skaters, each registering a 24 percent Corsi or below. But when their team needed them the most, they stepped up.

With 1:26 left in regulation, Hossa ended his 10-game goal drought by burying home a terrific feed from Kero to snap a 0-0 tie and give the Blackhawks their second consecutive win. It's Hossa's 17th goal of the campaign, which ties Artemi Panarin for second on the team, and his fifth game-winning goal of the year. His 83 career game-winning goals now ranks 24th in NHL history, surpassing Mike Bossy, and remains fifth among active players.

Hossa's goal also moved him within a tie of Pierre Turgeon for 37th on the all-time goals list with 516.

Kero has six points in his last six games, while Hinostroza has two goals and one assist in his past two.

5. Despite recent struggles, Bruins in good hands with Claude Julien.

It seems like this is a discussion every year, but firing Julien would be a huge mistake for a Bruins team that fell to 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. They're still the No. 1 possession team in the NHL, controlling 55.42 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, and give up the fifth-fewest high danger scoring chances with 326, according the naturalstattrick.com. They average the second-most shots on goal per game at 33.9, and allow the second-fewest at 26.5.

To back it up, their PDO is 97.5 percent, the sum of a team's even-strength save percentage and shooting percentage that usually works it way toward 100, which indicates they're due for a fairly large correction. They're not getting bounces right now, but they're playing the right way and a change behind the bench would be a step in the wrong direction, considering Julien is easily a top-five coach in the NHL.