Marian Hossa-Hockey-Stara Lubovna, Slovakia/ Chicago, IL
Local look: Hossa signed a 12-year contract with the Blackhawks in 2009 after playing for both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
Hyper-local tidbit: He was the first player to appear in three straight Stanley Cup Finals representing three different clubs.
In their second game in eight days, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues once again proved that they are nearly even in skill, but the result was once again the same, as the Blues got a shootout goal from TJ Oshie to sneak out of Chicago with a 3-2 victory.
Brandon Pirri scored his first career goal for the Blackhawks, and Marian Hossa added his second goal in as many games in the Hawks' loss. David Backes had a power play marker and Alexander Steen scored his fifth goal of the young campaign for the Blues.
The Blackhawks had the majority of the scoring chances in the first period, outshooting the Blues 13-8. They ended up getting on the board early as Pirri took an excellent feed from Hossa and put a puck past St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived, as captain Jonathan Toews went off with a slashing penalty two minutes later. Just five seconds into the man-advantage, the Blues' captain Backes ended up pushing a shot past Crawford to knot the game at 1-1 apiece.
The Hawks' disciplinary woes continued a minute and a half later, as Michal Handzus was sent to the box for elbowing Ryan Reaves. This penalty the Hawks were able to kill off, and the teams went to the 1st intermission tied at 1-1.
The second period didn't feature many scoring chances for either side, with the Blues ending up winning the shots on goal battle by a 9-5 margin. Fortunately for the Hawks, Hossa got loose on a breakaway, and was able to tally a goal with less than three minutes left in the frame to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. The Blues once again responded in short order, with Steen scoring 50 seconds later. Jay Bouwmeester picked up his second assist of the night on the play as well as the puck pinballed between players on its way in and ended up getting deflected in by Duncan Keith.
The third period was once again a back-and-forth affair, with the Hawks dominating the early stages before the Blues could get their legs underneath them. The Hawks had two early power plays, but one was erased by an Andrew Shaw roughing penalty. Neither team was able to capitalize on the man-advantage, and the period continued with the teams still deadlocked at 2-2.
Goaltender Corey Crawford, who hadn't been all that active on the evening, ended up getting quite a bit of work in the second half of the third period, stopping several shots in close and not allowing the Blues' crease crashers second chance opportunities. The Hawks weren't able to return the favor against the Blues, with many of their possessions ending near the blue line thanks to some careful defending by the Blues.
The two teams played evenly and eventually forced overtime. Early on in the extra frame, Brandon Saad had an excellent chance from between the dots, and the puck barely evaded Toews on the rebound attempt to keep the game going. Barrett Jackman also had an excellent chance to win the game for St. Louis that evaded Crawford's stick but ended up pinging off of the goal post to keep the game tied. Neither team was able to muster much after that, and the two sides went to a shootout.
In the shootout, both Toews and Patrick Kane were stuffed on their attempts by Halak, and Oshie unleashed a nifty little deke to fool Crawford to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead. Crawford was able to keep the Hawks in it by stopping a shot from Steen on the Blues' second attempt, and that brought Patrick Sharp up. Sharp ended up failing to beat Halak, and the Blues took the 3-2 victory.