Diligent Marian Hossa finally gets on board

Written By BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter Posted: 05/27/2014, 06:20am

ST. LOUIS — Marian Hossa doesn’t have to score for the Blackhawks to win. But it helps.

Hossa, who didn’t score in the first four games of the Hawks’ first-round series against the Blues, scored a second-effort goal in the first period in a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 on Friday at Scottrade Center.

It was a typical workmanlike effort for Hossa. Working in traffic in the slot, he took a pass from Bryan Bickell and fought for a reaching but weak shot on goal that was stopped by the Blues’ Ryan Miller. But Hossa kept at it and pounded home the rebound with a much stronger shot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead with 3:49 left in the period.

“I just tried to create something out there,” Hossa said. “It was a great play by Bicksy. He gave it to me, and I just tried to take a couple of good shots and finally I got the rebound off my shot. I saw the net half-open, and I tried to finish it. We were creating chances, so that was a good thing. I’m glad I could help offensively.”

Hossa plays such a complete game that scoring his first goal of the series wasn’t that much of a relief. He was making an impact in the series with his aggressiveness, puck possession and defense.

“Hossa’s greatest attributes aren’t his play with the puck, it’s his play without the puck,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He puts more pressure on people without the puck than anybody in the league. He doesn’t need to score to be a significant player.”

It was Hossa’s 44th career playoff goal and 13th with the Blackhawks.

“It’s always a great feeling [to score],” Hossa said. “But it doesn’t matter who scores in the playoffs as long as we win. I try to play a 200-foot game — that’s my game. But definitely when you score, you get that extra boost.”

Hossa had seven shots on goal to give him 28 for the series.

“It’s nice to see him score,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He had the puck a lot tonight. Defensively, he does all the right things. Him with the puck, offensively, that line [with Jonathan Toews and Bickell] could be a big threat.”

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash

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