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.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”