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Thursday, February 22

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Blackhawks Wed Feb 11 2015

Blackhawks Look to Ride Hot Hossa During Homestand

Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa headed into St. Louis last Sunday with only 10 goals and 34 points after 52 games played this season, and what surely was a lot of questions about his own play swirling in his head. The 36-year-old Slovak had been mired in a bit of a slump, which coincided with his team's recent play on the longest road trip of the season.

The Blackhawks had been shutout back-to-back games for the first time since 2006 during this "Frozen" trip and the defense was skating on its heels, appearing slower than normal for a team as talented as any in the league. All coach Joel Quenneville needed was a player or two to help ignite the team and the rest would follow suit.

What followed was a takedown of the Blues (two points), a shootout loss to the Coyotes (one point) and a rejuvenated Hossa, who tallied four goals and four points along the way.

The Blackhawks recently entered a stretch of the season where they'll play host until near the end of February, which is very much welcomed after jet setting across the country since January 21. While on the road, the Hawks faced an always-strong Penguins team, winning 3-2 in a shootout; flying to Los Angeles after the All-Star break only to fall 4-3 to the Kings; winning 4-1 in Anaheim; dropping the back-to-back shutouts -- a 2-0 stonewalling in San Jose, and then a 3-0 drubbing in Minnesota -- before finally getting back on track with a 2-1 win in overtime in Winnipeg and then the game in St. Louis, a 4-2 win.

During the stretch between the Pittsburgh and Minnesota games, Hossa tallied one goal and one assist for two points with a -2 and an average of about 18 minutes of ice time per game. The goal and assist both came against the Penguins, which essentially means Hossa's numbers were null for the four games thereafter, averaging only one shot in each contest.

The Hawks were able to salvage a 4-3-0 record while playing what Quenneville called the "seven toughest road games you're ever going to see on any schedule." Hossa's one-shot-per-game average during most of that stretch certainly didn't help matters, but it seemed only a matter of time before the veteran was going to find his groove and begin cashing in with goals after averaging nearly three shots per game (Hossa currently is 29th in the league in total shots with 158).

Meanwhile, Hossa's iFenwick numbers are in the top-40 in the league, amongst those who have logged more than 500 minutes of ice time, with a 12.72. So his shot and possession numbers were all there, however, nothing seemed to go in for Big Hoss.

With four goals in two games and a nice, long homestand ahead, Hossa will look to continue his hot streak and contribute to his team, working its way to gain ground on Nashville for the top spot in the Central. Keeping his shot total up will only help.

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