Marian Hossa was well worth waiting for.
Hossa made his Blackhawks debut a memorable one by scoring twice -- including one of Chicago's three shorthanded goals -- as the Hawks won their eighth in a row by demolishing the San Jose Sharks 7-2 on Wednesday night.
"It was nice for 'House' to come in and have a meaningful game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a good start to his Blackhawks career. I'll be interested in seeing how his line works out from here."
Hossa signed a 12-year deal with the Hawks in July but missed the first eight weeks of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery. He showed no signs of rust, scoring on a shorthanded breakaway 4:57 into the second period for a 2-0 lead, then adding a tap-in goal off a perfect feed by Brent Sopel 6:19 into the third.
"I was just trying to get into game shape and trying to make good plays," Hossa said. "I wanted to keep things simple. Who would say we would go 7-2? Everybody played a great game and my shoulder felt fine. I took a couple of hits and it was OK."
Cristobal Huet stopped 22 shots as the Hawks improved to 4-0-0 on their annual "Circus Trip," which continues with weekend games at Anaheim and Los Angeles. He lost his shutout bid when Dan Boyle scored during a 5-on-3 power play with 3:43 remaining, and Joe Pavelski scored again with 2:10 to play.
Chicago (16-5-2) has beaten San Jose (16-6-4) twice during its eight-game winning streak and has defeated the Sharks in their last four meetings after dropping 13 in a row to San Jose. The Hawks have allowed just 13 goals during the winning streak.
"You never know coming into a game," Quenneville said. "We got contributions across the board."
The Sharks lost in regulation for the first time in 10 home games (7-1-2). They were the last team to lose in regulation on home ice, and were booed by the sellout crowd in the final seconds after allowing three shorthanded goals in a game for the first time in franchise history.
"You give up three shorties in one night, you're not winning," coach Todd McLellan said.
It was a nightmare for the Sharks, who still lead the overall standings but have Chicago right on their heels.
This is humbling," McLellan said. "When you're not prepared to play and you're not alert, those things can happen, especially when you're playing, perhaps, the top team in the NHL."
Chicago opened the scoring at 17:45 of the first period when Dave Bolland broke in and beat Evgeni Nabokov for a shorthanded goal. But they put the game away after Bolland was sent off for boarding 4:09 into the second.
Hossa got his first goal as a Hawk when he took Jonathan Toews' breakaway pass and easily beat Nabokov 48 seconds into the penalty. Just 28 seconds, Patrick Sharp went in alone, got Nabokov to drop and roofed a shot for Chicago's third shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead.
"We knew the standings coming into the game and coming into their building it's not an easy place to play," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "But we came out hard and we got those shorthanded goals and that took us a long way."
Dustin Byfuglien scored Chicago's first even-strength goal at 10:39 as Chicago finished the second period with a 21-6 advantage in shots and a 4-0 lead. Brent Seabrook and Hossa added goals 60 seconds apart in the third period against rookie goaltender Thomas Greiss, who relieved Nabokov. John Madden capped Chicago's scoring at 11:38.
"I don't think frustration is the word," Boyle said of his team's performance. "We should be embarrassed about the way we came out and played. That was ugly. Seven goals? That's breakdowns from everybody. That's just bad hockey."
|SHG - Troy Brouwer (7) ASST: Duncan Keith (14)|
1 - 0 CHI
|SHG - Marian Hossa (1) ASST: Jonathan Toews (10)|
2 - 0 CHI
|SHG - Patrick Sharp (7) ASST: Niklas Hjalmarsson (5)|
3 - 0 CHI
|Dustin Byfuglien (8) ASST: Cam Barker (8), Patrick Sharp (14)|
4 - 0 CHI
|Brent Seabrook (3) ASST: Duncan Keith (15), Troy Brouwer (6)|
5 - 0 CHI
|Marian Hossa (2) ASST: Brent Sopel (3), Patrick Kane (15)|
6 - 0 CHI
|John Madden (5) ASST: Duncan Keith (16), Brent Seabrook (9)|
7 - 0 CHI
|PPG - Dan Boyle (5) ASST: Joe Thornton (26), Dany Heatley (11)|
7 - 1 CHI
|Joe Pavelski (3) ASST: Ryane Clowe (12), Kent Huskins (8)|
7 - 2 CHI
|Brent Seabrook Holding against Joe Thornton|
|Troy Brouwer Boarding against Frazer McLaren|
|Ryane Clowe Elbowing against Colin Fraser|
|Scott Nichol Hooking against Duncan Keith|
|Cam Barker Interference against Dan Boyle|
|Niklas Hjalmarsson Closing hand on puck against Ryane Clowe|
|Cam Barker Hooking against Patrick Marleau|
|Brent Sopel Hooking against Scott Nichol|