The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night to make it 16 straight games with at least a point to start the season—tying the NHL record.
The win was a somber one though, as Marian Hossa left the game early in the third after taking an elbow to the back of the head from Vancouver player Jannik Hansen.
The hit sent Hossa to the ice and all 21,000 at the United Center to their feet. It took the star winger several minutes to sit up and very slowly make his way back to the Blackhawks' locker room.
Coach Joel Quenneville says that he will get a better assessment of Hossa's health on Wednesday morning (via Scott Powers of ESPNChicago):
He seemed OK, but we'll know (Wednesday). I think everybody saw it. Everybody can have their own opinion. We'll let the people who do that stuff, do their job.
While the Blackhawks now have 29 points in their first 16 games of the season, losing a star winger such as Hossa for significant time would be very damaging to any momentum going forward.
Captain Jonathan Toews said that it was pretty clear where Hansen wanted his elbow to land (via ESPNChicago):
I saw it when the puck was up. I saw the replay on the board. It was pretty evident he wasn't reaching for the puck or anything. I'm not too sure what's going to happen there. I'll have to see it a few more times to comment further, but I don't think there's any doubt there's contact to the head there. We just hope Hos is going to be OK.
While the NHL and Brendan Shanahan will take a look on Hansen's hit on Hossa, the Blackhawks must look forward at the possibility of losing a key star.
The loss of Hossa may also open up a spot for Daniel Carcillo to make his return to the lineup—even though Carcillo brings only half of what Hossa does on a nightly basis.
The hit ended a great game for Hossa, who had two goals in Tuesday night's contest. He broke through with a slap shot on the power play to give the Blackhawks their first lead of the night. A few minutes later, he took advantage of lackluster Vancouver defense by muscling the puck to the front of the net and past Cory Schneider.
Ray Emery played well in net to earn the win—letting in only three goals on 32 shots.
Patrick Kane elevated his game and was able to skate through much of Vancouver's defense. Most of the Blackhawks were able to get by Vancouver's defense, but Schneider was up to the task to keep his team in the game.
The 'Hawks were able to get many odd-man scoring chances, but failed to cash in on their opportunities. Failing to do so would come back to bite late in the game. The Canucks blasted their way back into the game by scoring two goals late to force overtime and eventually a shootout.
From there, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw were able to put goals past Schneider to hand the Blackhawks their 13th win in 16 games.
''It's a remarkable start,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We're very happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they're at, especially in a 48-game season. It's put us in a real good spot," (via Yahoo Sports).
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