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Wednesday, October 28

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Blackhawks Mon Nov 23 2009

Hawks welcome Hossa to successful circus

With a 3-0 run through Western Canada last weekend, the Blackhawks have extended their winning streak to 7 games, with 3 games left on their annual circus trip starting tonight in San Jose. In a highly awaited debut, star sniper Marian Hossa will be on the ice in the Indianhead sweater against the Sharks, following his summer signing and subsequent shoulder surgery.

Chicago has used some stellar defensive play to lead the league in fewest shots allowed, a big factor in their recent run, but Hossa's return will make an already strong offense (6th in the league with 3.04 goals a game) even more potent. With Hossa's in the mix, the Hawks are almost at full strength, with only center Dave Bolland and agitator Adam Burish out long-term. Hossa's return means winger Patrick Kane will shift to left wing, with Toews centering the pair in one of the deadliest lines the Blackhawks have had in years and a pairing many have been waiting to see.

The normally wrenching Canadian swing was nothing but smiles this time through, as the Hawks routed Calgary 7-1, got two goals from Jonathon Toews to beat Edmonton 5-2, and stole a 1-0 win away from Vancouver with a shutout from Antti Niemi.

The 7 game run has pushed the Blackhawks into the top echelon of the NHL points battle, Hossa's return is against the league's top team in San Jose, setting up a strong test to see where the full team measures up.

The Hawks wrap up the trip after Thanksgiving with back-to-back games against Anaheim and Los Angeles, before returning to the United Center Dec. 1 to battle the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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