In the Chicago Blackhawks‘ Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, most of the players wearing red were hanging their goaltender out to dry all afternoon and failing to generate much of their own offense. Marian Hossa, however, was the same fantastic two-way player that he has consistently been ever since signing with Chicago in July of 2009.
Hossa picked up two assists in the win, bringing his team-leading playoff point total to 13. As usual, a lot of his best work came on the defensive side of the puck. When Nick Leddy lost an edge near the blue line on the power play, it was Hossa’s backcheck that prevented the Kings from getting a 2-on-1 led by Anze Kopitar.
In a game where the Blackhawks were terrible as far as puck possession metrics are concerned, Hossa was one of the few to still perform well in that respect; he and his linemates (Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell) were Chicago’s only forwards to finish with a corsi for percentage number equal to or higher than 50 percent.
This two-way excellence has characterized Hossa’s play for the entire postseason. Even in the Blackhawks’ worst games of the playoffs (Games 3 and 4 against the Minnesota Wild), No. 81 stood out as a bright spot.
Hossa won’t get any genuine consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Blackhawks make it to the Stanley Cup Final, and rightly so; the award is Corey Crawford‘s to lose at this point. Nevertheless, Hossa has been unbelievable, and his play is one of the chief reasons why a Blackhawks team that hasn’t played particularly well all postseason long is more than halfway to a repeat.