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Blackhawks Wed Apr 18 2012

Game 3 Gets Heated: OT Loss and Hossa Injury

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngLeading up to Game 3 the hot topic was the three-game suspension lobbed at Andrew Shaw for Saturday night's collision with Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. Shaw could have arguably been trying to avoid Smith. It didn't look pretty, but Smith was back in the game in no time. He took a single practice off and returned ready to play in Game 3, poor guy... Now, tonight's game saw an illegal hit of entirely different proportions.

Just minutes into the first period, Coyotes left wing Raffi Torres smashed into Marion Hossa with such deliberate force that Torres left his feet, launching his entire frame into Hossa's head. Hossa lay unconscious, coming to only after being loaded onto a stretcher. No penalties were dealt, because the refs were watching the puck, which was nowhere near Torres, and missed the incident entirely.

Torres is a repeat offender - dealing a similarly premeditated body slam into Brent Seabrook exactly one year previously. While Torres went without reprimand last year, the NHL cannot look the other way on an event like this, and will surely be reviewing the incident.

With a start like that, Game 3 was sure to be heated. Brandon Bollig was given 10 minutes for misconduct not long after his teammate was carted off the ice. However, Marcus Kruger won a faceoff, allowing the puck to make its way to the back of the net through Andrew Burnette in the final moments of the first period.

The second period was silent on the scoreboard, but the penalty box stayed warm, hosting a handful of Coyotes including the likes of Torres, finally, for tripping. Jonathan Toews was also handed two minutes at the end of the period for roughing. Even goalies Corey Crawford and Mike Smith exchanged words nose to nose before heading to the locker rooms, though nothing came of it.

Shots bounced back and forth in the third. A slapshot goal from Rostislav Klesla was returned seconds later by Michael Frolik, who's stepped in for Andrew Shaw during his suspension. Unfortunately, Phoenix answered with a wrist shot from Ray Whitney less than a minute later. The match was forced into another overtime, where Mikkel Boedker got a sharp angle on Crawford and slid the puck under his knee for the win.

It's a frustrating loss for Chicago when the game began with such an injustice. The team played hard, making up for two missing players. The defense was throwing themselves in front of the puck like bodyguards protecting the net from assailants at all costs. Still, a game like this boils the blood, and the Hawks are sure to bring fire to Game 4 on Thursday.

Hossa has fortunately been released from the hospital and is expected to recover, though no timetable has been given. As for Torres, hopefully NHL will throw the book at him...and maybe a few other things while they're at it.

UPDATE: Torres has been suspended indefinitely pending a Friday hearing with the Department of Player Safety.

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