CHICAGO – On the day he was named the NHL's second star of the week, Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa began his argument for being next week's first star.
After scoring back-to-back third-period goals to tie Monday night's 3-2 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues, Hossa extended his point streak to seven games and his goal streak to three contests. He also now leads the NHL with 11 points (7 goals).
"I feel healthy, that's the No.1 thing," said Hossa, who battled through shoulder and knee injuries last season. "The shoulder is fine and the knee is fine. That's the main thing, because I believe (my) skating and the moving the puck is much better than let's say in the playoffs, when I was a little limited. I feel great. Pucks are finding me and I'm trying to be available for my teammates."
One of those teammates, Patrick Sharp, just might be his main competition for weekly League "star" status. Sharp buried his third game-winning goal in a row in the overtime on a nice feed by Patrick Kane to give him six goals and eight points in Chicago's seven games.
Veteran defenseman Jassen Cullimore, a recent call-up from Rockford of the AHL, also assisted on the game-winner to beat Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak – who'd shut down the Hawks for more than two and a half periods before Hossa's heroics.
"Great play by Jassen Cullimore to kind of jump in and hang out in the play," Sharp said of his game-winning tally. "He's been playing great since he's been recalled. You don't see him hang onto the puck like that usually, but he created the whole play and Kaner and I have done that play a few times ourselves. He kind of hesitated, made a great pass and it was lucky to go in."
Aside from the goals by Hossa and Sharp, Tomas Kopecky got his seventh assist in as many games on Hossa's first goal at 13:12 of the third, a power-play tally.
"It's always fun to play with Hoss and Kopey," Sharp said. "They're two big targets out there and they work hard to get pucks back. We didn't get much accomplished, but late in the game we were able to put us ahead."
It was the second game in a row in which the Hawks charged back from a third-period deficit to get two points, after beating Buffalo 4-3 on Saturday night at home. Chicago's power play went 1-for-3 and the Hawks came into the game ranked fourth in the League in that category. Hossa is a big reason, with one goal and two assists for the season on the power play.
"(Hossa's) been playing at a great level for us and he was instrumental in getting us back in the game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It ended up being a huge two points for us."
Before Hossa took over, Blues forward David Perron and Halak appeared to be the game's two biggest stars. Perron scored both St. Louis goals -- which were his first two of the season.
Perron's second at 9:28 of the third gave St. Louis (2-1-2) a two-goal cushion and came on a 3-on-1 rush. T.J. Oshie fed a perfect cross-ice pass to him for a one-timer that went in over a sprawled Marty Turco. Perron's first goal got Blues on the board first at 10:24 of the second period. After skating around Seabrook wide to the right of the goal, he tucked the puck between Turco's pads.
"It was a frustrating game for us and we have to find a way to bounce back," Perron said. "The power play gave Chicago momentum and it's tough to stop a player like Hossa. We had our chances, but they got the last goal."
Halak wound up making 30 saves in the first regular-season start of his career against Chicago (4-2-1), but was outdueled by Turco down the stretch. Turco, who stopped 32 of 34 shots, made 15 saves combined in the third period and overtime. He made seven in OT.
"That's just kind of the beauty of these games," Turco said. "That team (we) played against, they're well-coached, they're responsible players and they make it tough. You've got to earn it. They can make you get frustrated pretty quick. Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you need big plays. Tonight we were fortunate to get 'em."
Hossa's first – and sixth of the season – qualified as both a break and a big play. He brought the crowd of 20,641 to life and made it 2-1 by backhanding a rebound that came to him on a power play late in the third. His second tally also came off the backhand at 15:43, when he slid the puck between Halak's pads and the legs of a Blues player in the crease.
"Before I turned, I had to take a long time so I tried to just kind of sneak it between my legs," Hossa said. "(It was) a weak shot under the goalie and the puck found a way."
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