Blackhawks match all-time NHL record with 4-3 shootout win
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 19, 2013 10:04PM
Updated: February 20, 2013 1:30AM
Marian Hossa helped the Blackhawks make history — the good kind.
Then history — the bad kind — repeated itself.
Hossa broke out of his scoring slump with two goals, and the Hawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night as the Hawks earned a point for the 16th straight game to open the season, matching the all-time NHL record. The Canucks scored twice in the final three minutes to send the game to overtime, but Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw scored in the shootout to earn the victory.
But the big night was tempered by the sight of Hossa prone, face-down on the ice, after taking a forearm to the back of the head from Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen while trying to grab a puck out of the air early in the third period. After a minute or so, Hossa was helped up, and helped off to the dressing room. He did not return, but did not leave the building, either.
Hansen is the same player who slashed Dave Bolland’s ankle in Vancouver earlier this season and cost him a game.
“I saw him after the game, he seemed OK,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Hossa. “But we’ll know more [Wednesday].”
The play immediately conjured up the image of Hossa on the ice after taking an elbow from Phoenix’s Raffi Torres during the playoffs last season. Hossa suffered a concussion on that hit and wasn’t cleared until mid-November.
“That’s ugly and very unfortunate,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “You never want to see that. Don’t know the situation yet, but we hope that it’s just a minor scare for now and that he’ll be back soon.”
Toews said he saw the hit on the scoreboard replay and said, “It’s pretty evident [Hansen] wasn’t reaching for the puck or anything. … I don’t think there’s any doubt that there was contact to the head there.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said there’s “not a chance” Hansen faces discipline for the play.
“It wasn’t even a penalty,” he said. “Both referees looked at the play, and until Toews went out to talk to them it wasn’t even a penalty. … He’s trying to grab a puck in the air. It’s unfortunate if a young man is hurt. He’s trying to jump to get the puck. Stuff happens.”
That said, the hit surely will be looked at by the league. Torres was
given a 25-game suspension for his hit on Hossa in April.The hit surely will be looked at by the league. Torres was given a 25-game suspension for his hit on Hossa in April.
“I think everybody saw it, everybody can have their own opinion,” Quenneville said. “I’ll let the people that do that stuff do their job.”
The hit spoiled a huge game for Hossa, who entered Tuesday’s game without a goal in six games, and with just one in 11. He finally broke through with a pair of goals less than four minutes apart during a dominant three-goal second period for the Hawks (Patrick Sharp had the other). The first was a power-play slap shot. On the second, he came from behind Schneider and snaked his way through the goal crease before tucking a backhander in between Schneider’s skate and the far post for a 3-1 Hawks lead.
“He was having a great game,” Quenneville said.
The superb second period followed a frustrating first. The Hawks had three breakaways, but no goals, as Hossa’s attempt found the glove of Cory Schneider (40 saves), Dave Bolland’s roofed backhander grazed Schneider’s blocker, and Sharp’s was sticked aside. Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin had two breakaways of his own stopped by Hawks goaltender Ray Emery (29 saves, 6-0-0), but Sedin’s soft, sharp-angle backhander squeaked through Emery’s pads for a 1-0 Canucks lead at the first intermission.
The Hawks turned it on in the second, but then turned it off in the third, allowing goals by Alexander Edler (power play) and Kevin Bieksa (with Schneider pulled) in the final three minutes to force overtime. It was the second straight game the Hawks struggled to hold on to a third-period lead.
“We’ve got to find a way to tighten things up late in games, whether it’s being more disciplined, staying out of the box, whatever it may be,” Sharp said.
Quenneville said Hossa was the original choice to be the third man in the shootout. Instead, he went with Shaw, who beat Schneider on a backhand. Emery stopped Ryan Kesler on the next attempt to seal the win and improve to 6-0-0 on the season.
“I was excited, but definitely nervous,” Shaw said. “It was great to put it in.”
The game had all the usual intensity of a Canucks-Hawks game. Brandon Bollig fought Dale Weise early in the first period, and exhorted the crowd to get up and cheer after he emerged the victor. Jonathan Toews was sent face-first into the crossbar by Keith Ballard, the lack of a penalty infuriating the Hawks captain. Then came Hansen’s hit on Hossa, the latest in a long line of big — and questionable — hits in this rivalry.
But even with the late collapse and the Hossa injury, the Hawks etched their names in the record books. In fact, the Anaheim Ducks were 12-0-4 in 2006-07 — the Hawks have done them one better, now at 13-0-3, with 29 of a possible 32 points. They’ll have a chance to hold the record alone Friday against the San Jose Sharks.
Amazingly, the season is one-third complete, and the Hawks have yet to lose in regulation.
“It’s a remarkable start,” Quenneville said. “We’re very happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they’re at. Especially in a 48-game season, it puts us in a real good spot.”