DETROIT -- Some fans think of him as the X factor.
If Marian Hossa can play with the energy and intensity he showed in the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, then his team might have a serious playoff run in it.
Hossa was everywhere, including on the point for the game-winner during a power play in the extra period. It was his seventh shot of the game, and the only one to go in.
“[Coach Joel Quenneville] told me before the game he would try to use me for two lines so I wanted to make sure I had short shifts and had [some] jump,” Hossa said afterwards. “I had lots of confidence.”
Hossa played 23:52, more than any other forward in the game. Double shifting isn’t something Quenneville usually plans to do with a player before the game even starts.
“I think on a need basis, sometimes that’s part of it,” Quenneville explained. “I don’t usually do that too much.”
Hossa figured Quenneville told him ahead of time so he would rest on Monday afternoon. And it paid off.
“I had so many shots tonight,” Hossa said. “I was hoping to find one [go in] and finally the last one [did].”
Hossa missed on a breakaway earlier but that didn’t deter him. In fact, when he’s feeling it, not much or many can stop him.
“At this moment I feel pretty good,” he said. “There were stretches in the middle [of the season] where I had injuries and I couldn’t get in a tempo. Right now I have no injuries and I’m in tempo and coach is using me a lot.”
Hossa added an assist in the first period and has 20 points in his last 16 games. It’s reminiscent of the start to his season when he had 11 points in the first seven games.
A dominant Hossa, playing on two shifts, can only bode well for the Hawks. When spread out, their talent becomes too much to match up against.
Add Hossa’s contributions in key defensive moments and he’s much more than the X factor -- he’s the old Hossa. And just in time.