Hossa, Hawks get revenge against Coyotes

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Hossa, Hawks get revenge against Coyotes

Updated: 12:55 a.m.

GLENDALE, Ariz. Marian Hossa has been adamant in telling everyone he is just fine coming off that concussion.

Hes been cleared since Nov. 15. Hed been skating hard to get cleared, and continued that after he was. Still, the truest test of readiness is game action. Well, after two contests, this much is clear: Hossa wasnt kidding. Hes just fine.

Hossa had his second consecutive two-goal game and Dave Bolland had two goals and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 6-4 at Jobing.com Arena on Sunday night. The Blackhawks got four points on this back-to-back road trip, scoring 11 goals in two games.

Patrick Kane had two assists as did Michal Rozsival, who made his Blackhawks debut. Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg tallied their first goals of the season.

Hossa downplayed tonights game against the Coyotes, the first time hes faced Phoenix since forward Raffi Torres ended his season in Game 3 last April. For him, he said, it was just another game I came into the game, no hard feelings and just prepared like I always do, he said. But theres no doubt that, in these first two games, Hossa is playing some vintage Hossa hockey.

Its always nice to get a great start, but hes taking it to another level in the first two games, captain Jonathan Toews said on Hossa. Hell say the same thing: he just wants to keep playing well. But to get that confidence early on is a huge thing.

Said Bolland, hes playing the same Hossa game hes always played. You see how he uses his size, stick and vision. Hes one of the best in the league.

Hossas happy with his first two games, but he said theres still work to be done.

The legs are going, but the hands and head are still adjusting to the fast game. But thats probably the same for everyone who hasnt played much at this point, said Hossa, who added points dont always equal a great outing. Sometimes I play much better and dont get any points and I feel great about my game. Sometimes I dont feel great about it and get a couple of goals.

Still, unlike Saturdays opener in Los Angles, this game got a little interesting. The Coyotes stormed back early in the third period, when their drive and the Blackhawks sloppiness led to two quick Coyotes goals and cut the Hawks lead to 5-4. But one Blackhawks timeout and 22 seconds after Shane Doan scored to make it 5-4, Bolland knocked the game-winner up and over Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith.

Q made a great call there to bring us to the bench and calm us down. It stopped their momentum, also, Bolland said of the time out. We bounced back quick.

Recovering seems to be the theme of the Blackhawks in this early season, be it an individual players great recovery from a horrible concussion or the teams recovery from an opposing goal. The Blackhawks are proving their depth is working. And Hossa is proving that, when he said he was fine, he meant it.

Pucks are going in for him, and that lines been affective in a lot of ways, Quenneville said of Hossa. Hes a big part of our team. Its nice to see him rebound and get off to a good start.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

On this episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle breakdown Tuesday's controversial ending with Vancouver. They discuss whether Darling was interfered with on the game winning goal and did Toews deserve a penalty for running into Ryan Miller?

They also discuss the expectations for John Hayden and the tough lineup decisions at forward, that Joel Quenneville will have in the playoffs.

Tracey weighs in on who has been the more impressive goalie tandem, Crow and Emery in 2013 or this year's pair, Crow and Darling?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Every team has goals it wants to hit at various parts of the season. At the start you want to be strong so you can save yourself a mad scramble to get into the postseason. In the middle, you want to just keep pace, get through that drudgery known as games 40-60.

But what about the end? If you're a playoff-bound team it's about reaching balance: you want to play your best hockey but also want to get your rest and conserve energy for the "next season."

The Blackhawks are in this mode right now. The postseason berth has been wrapped up. They've hit the 100-point mark and still maintain a six-point lead in the conference/division. So with nine games left the Blackhawks will try to get that overall play they had through most of February while being mindful of rest.

"We have [nine] to go and want to make sure we're fresh. At the same time, we want to be competitive," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We're looking to play games and in games, if we have a chance to back off a little bit, that'll be dictated by the score, the time of the game."

Entering their last two games trailing by two, the Blackhawks haven't had the chance to back off. They've had to do the opposite. Quenneville has said the team's four-line rotation, which was great in February, hasn't been there the past few games. Part of that could be due to injury. Artem Anisimov has missed the last three-plus games with a left-leg injury and is still expected to miss another 2-3 weeks. The Blackhawks have found ways to win despite that, but want to get back to more consistent hockey.

"Obviously we still want to try to win our division you want to be playing well," Brian Campbell said. "The last [few] games have been OK, spurts and stuff, so we want to ramp it up. There are some guys who can probably back off if they need or want to, there are those situations. It's a good situation to have. But this team's been around, they know how to prepare and get ready for it."

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So does Quenneville. We've reached that time of the season when the Blackhawks won't practice much, if at all. They're playing every other day and their morning skates are their versions of practice. As for in games, the Blackhawks know how to keep their energy up there, too.

"I think just playing good hockey and taking short shifts is key. You're not extending shifts to a minute and a half, two minutes," Ryan Hartman said. "You're conserving some long-term energy."

The Blackhawks are nearing the regular-season finish line but another race awaits them. They want to be ready for the postseason but they don't want to get too relaxed down the stretch.

"It's still the regular season. Nobody's taking the foot off the gas pedal. We're still trying to win hockey games and you want to come into the playoffs with a winning atmosphere and winning attitude," Hartman said. "Take every game one at a time and don't try to play conservative. Play good and winning hockey."