WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Marian Hossa picked up right where he left off before going down with a lower-body injury that sidelined him for three games.
Hossa scored the game winner and added an assist as the Blackhawks got back in the win column Thursday night, avenging a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at the expense of the Winnipeg Jets.
Hossa, who was unavailable to the media after the game due to postgame treatment, logged 17 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time, good for fourth among forwards.
Hossa’s teammates were quick to sing his praises following the 6-3 victory, including linemate Jonathan Toews, who outlined exactly what Hossa brings to the lineup each night.
“Just balance,” said Toews, who recorded a goal and three assists on the night and set up Hossa’s game-winning goal. “I think Sharpie [Patrick Sharp] and I have been doing a good job of keeping the puck alive and playing the corners and Hossa is always in the right spot -- either he is in the slot or open on the right side.
“I think when Sharpie and I turn the puck over, Hossa is all over getting the puck right back for us. We are not afraid of making mistakes when we have Hos getting maybe five-six takeaways a night. It is definitely helpful.”
Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford, who picked up his 14th win of the season, explained the importance of Hossa on the defensive side of the puck.
“He is a guy who plays at both ends of the ice,” said Crawford. “He is willing to put the effort in to come back and help our D. That is what we need and I think he just rubs off on other guys, too.”
Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville didn’t shy away from holding his veteran right winger in high regard.
“That is one thing about Hos, he plays the right way,” said Quenneville. “He is very consistent, predictable and you expect him to play that way game-in, game-out, and he didn’t miss a beat.”
Hossa finished with a plus-3 rating on the night and saw time on both the power play and the penalty kill.