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 acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

The Blackhawks made a minor league deal on Saturday, announcing the acquisition of forward Michael Latta from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling.

Latta, 25, has two goals and four assists in 29 games this season with the Ontario (Calif.) Reign of the American Hockey League.

He has four goals and 13 assists in 113 career games in the National Hockey League, all with the Washington Capitals from 2013-16.

Latta, who was a third-round pick (No. 72 overall) by the Nashville Predators in 2009, will report to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. He carries a $600,000 cap hit, and is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Schilling ranked second among defensemen on the IceHogs with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 40 games, and had a minus-3 rating. The 28-year-old blue liner signed a two-year contract worth $575,000 per season with the Blackhawks in July 2015.

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

See the Blackhawks get off to a slow start. See the Blackhawks get outshot. See the Blackhawks lean on their goaltending. See the Blackhawks find some offense in the third period. See the Blackhawks win.

This is a story the Blackhawks have written and played out plenty this season. Despite all evidence that it should work out to the contrary, the Blackhawks continue to pull out victories. But as we're well into the second half of the season, how much longer can they win with this formula? And is this, more than anything, a testament to how much they need to acquire someone (or plural) at the deadline to bolster their forward lineup?

Entering Sunday night's game against Vancouver the Blackhawks remain second in the Western Conference, two points behind Minnesota. Not surprisingly, they enter Sunday coming off another one-goal victory, a 1-0 decision over Boston on Friday night. Friday's game was cut from the same cloth as so many other one-goal games this season (please see above for the script). 

Here's how the Blackhawks are doing in one-goal games (through 48 games played this season) and how they've done in previous seasons:

Year Record
2016-17 18-7-5
2015-16 17-7-9
2014-15 22-13-6
2013-14 17-8-15
2012-13 19-3-5 (lockout yr.)
2011-12 22-6-11
2010-11 16-13-9
2009-10 23-9-8

The Blackhawks played 41 one-goal games (half of their regular-season games) in the 2014-15 season. Thirty of their 48 games this season have been one-goal games. But again, it comes down to how you're winning those games, and the Blackhawks are winning just about all of them in the same way: deal with a slow start and come back in the third period, relying on goaltending the entire time.

Being outshot the amount of times the Blackhawks have this season remains alarming. Sure, sometimes a lot of shots don't mean a lot of quality chances. But it's still better than minimal shots, and any shot can be an opportunity for a rebound, a deflection, something. From our stats guru Chris Kamka, here's a breakdown of the Blackhawks' shots per game vs. opponents, dating back to 2008-09:

Year Shots/Gm Opp. Shots/Gm Diff.
2008-09 32.7 28.6 +4.2
2009-10 34.1 25.1 +9.1
2010-11 32.2 28.7 +3.6
2011-12 31.5 28.6 +3.0
2012-13 31.1 26.2 +4.9
2013-14 33.1 27.2 +6.0
2014-15 33.9 30.2 +3.8
2015-16 30.5 30.8 -0.3
2016-17 29.3 31.1 -1.7

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It's no surprise that the Blackhawks' differential was especially good in their Stanley Cup-winning seasons (and even 2013-14, when they went to the Western Conference Final). Those Blackhawks teams were deep, especially at forward. They weren't waiting for the perfect shooting opportunities as much as just firing. They had great four-line rotations, something they've sorely been lacking the past two seasons, which makes a difference with puck possession.

The Blackhawks will see what's available at the trade deadline. As I wrote a few days ago, there will be names out there but, considering some teams are still hoping for playoff spots, you take mentions for what they are right now. Over the next few weeks the picture will become clearer, and adding the right depth could rekindle that four-line rotation.

We've said throughout this season that the Blackhawks can't keep this up. We said it in November, and December, and now. Understand where we're coming from here; the Blackhawks can absolutely keep winning one-goal games. They've shown that in recent seasons and in the postseason, when the ability to do that is critical. But it's doubtful they can keep doing it the way they have most this season.