It was Marian Hossa Night at the United Center, with the two of the teams he played for battling in a game that meant a lot more to the Penguins than it did to the Blackhawks. Both teams travelled on Saturday night, but only the Blackhawks had to sit on the bench until 5:30 for Hossa’s ceremony and then get dressed for the game and warm-up 20 minutes later.
This was the second night in a row that the Blackhawks were facing a future Hall of Fame top center; they got a look at Patrice Bergeron on Saturday and got both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on Sunday. The Blackhawks had no answers for the Bruins, but competed hard in front of Hossa and a collection of other Stanley Cup winners. Unfortunately, they didn’t have quite enough to get a point (or two) in this one.
Star 1: Marian Hossa
The night was all about Hossa. Every stoppage, they showed him on the screen. Every television commercial, they had some old vignette from back in the day or highlight package. The ceremony was amazing, and the game really felt secondary on this night at the United Center.
Star 2: Jonathan Toews
One night after winning most of his faceoffs in Boston against the No. 2 faceoff team in the NHL, Toews got a long look at a solid Pittsburgh team with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter. Toews has had battles against all three of those guys over the years, and once Crosby picked up his second assist it was only a matter of time before Toews got the offense going. He had a nice assist on Patrick Kane’s goal late in the second period to cut the Pittsburgh lead to one.
Star 3: Patrick Kane
Kane hadn’t scored since the Edmonton debacle on Oct. 27, a ten-game stretch in which he’d been trying to find the back of the net but it just wasn’t happening. He scored the Blackhawks’ second goal of the night on Sunday off an assist from Toews, an appropriate throwback with Hossa in the building. Kane was also very active, leading the Blackhawks in shots on net with
- Jason Dickinson got his butt kicked at the dot but he was noticeable the entire night squaring off with either Crosby or Malkin’s lines. He made a terrific play to cross the crease with the puck and drop if back for an easy tip-in goal for Jujhar Khaira to get the Blackhawks on the board.
- The ice surface was predictably not ideal after the lengthy ceremony for Hossa. It looked like Arvid Söderblom was fighting it early; his rebound control wasn’t great. He battled, though, and made some big saves in the third period to keep his team in the picture.
- Crosby has been in the NHL since the 2005-06 season and yet, somehow, his go-ahead goal in the third period was his first at the United Center. Probably because he tried to dodge Toews for the better part of a decade. Crosby had three points in the game.
- Early in the first period, the Blackhawks flashed a nice congratulations graphic on the jumbotron for Malkin, who was skating in his 1,000th career regular season game. Malkin scored twice, including into the empty net with 16 seconds left in regulation to put the game away.