Hossa eyes better playoff finish

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa has been on the ice the last two years when the Stanley Cup was awarded to the champions.

Unfortunately for Hossa, he was on the losing team both times.

Hossa, who was with the Detroit Red Wings last season and the Pittsburgh Penguins the year before, is hoping to be on the right side of the Cup presentation this year.

"It was disappointing last year, [to lose by] one goal," Hossa said, referring to the Penguins' 2-1 victory in Game 7. "But I consider myself lucky, because not many players go to the finals, so it was a great experience.

"It was a tough finish, but we're looking for a better finish this year."

The Blackhawks, who were eliminated by Hossa's Wings in the Western Conference finals last year, open the playoffs on Friday against the Nashville Predators. The Hawks entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the West.

"[The Hawks] were on a great run last year, and we're looking for another great run this year," Hossa said. "The guys are a year older and have a little experience, which is great.

"Obviously, we're the favorite in this round, and we know what we have to do to be successful."

After signing a 12-year, $62.8 million deal with Chicago on July 1, Hossa underwent shoulder surgery and missed the first two months of the season.

He scored 24 goals and 51 points in 57 games this season, and he knows the weight of his contract creates heavy expectations.

"The expectations are high, and I'm looking forward to it," he said.