Monday, May 25, 2009

Last Night Best Player - Marian Hossa

By Brian Compton - NIKALE PHOTOS

They kept saying it was only a matter of time before Marian Hossa buried his chances.

On Sunday afternoon, the talented winger did just that as he scored two goals in the Detroit Red Wings' 6-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at the United Center.

It was a long time coming for Hossa, who had just four goals this postseason entering Sunday's action. All of those goals were scored in two games, which left Hossa scoreless in 12 of 14 playoff contests.

But with Pavel Datsyuk still out -- the Hart Trophy candidate suffered a foot injury in Game 2 -- Hossa found some chemistry with center Valtteri Filppula. The pair factored in on three of Detroit's goals, and it was Hossa who got the party started with a shorthanded tally at 8:41 of the first period.
"We were missing key players on our team," said Hossa, who hadn't scored since Game 4 at Anaheim. "We had to step up. I knew I had to drive to the net more and be more dangerous and play a little more physical. When you're getting chances and the puck doesn't go in for you, it's human nature you start pressing. I told myself I just had to play more relaxed and play with my instincts and keep things simple."

Hossa and Filppula did just that on Sunday. With his team trying to silence a raucous, capacity crowd, Hossa took a cross-ice feed from Filppula and ripped it past Cristobal Huet for the game's opening goal. Filppula gave the Wings a 3-0 lead with a power-play goal 1:13 into the second before Hossa beat Huet with a shot from the slot less than three minutes later to make it 4-1.
Hossa's second goal came just 12 seconds after Jonathan Toews had cut Detroit's lead in half.

"I thought ‘Hoss’ had an unbelievable game," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought he was awesome. We needed him to step up today, and he really did. The fourth goal put a knife in them. He did a great job there. I thought him and Fil were fantastic."

Whether or not the two will skate together in Wednesday's Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena remains to be seen. Babcock said after Sunday's win that Datsyuk is close to returning.

All of Hossa's goals this postseason have come in the fourth game of the series.

"He obviously scores when he has the chances," Filppula said. "He made a real nice play on both of those goals. He's a fast player. He can really score and he can shoot."


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