"I'm sure there were some, but I didn't pay attention to it. I know what to expect. I just tried to play."
-- Marian Hossa
Making just his second return to Mellon Arena since bolting the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings, Hossa was booed by the boisterous crowd every time he touched the puck in Tuesday night's 4-2 loss in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"I'm sure there were some, but I didn't pay attention to it," Hossa said of the boos. "I know what to expect. I just tried to play."
Hossa was a minus-1 and mustered three shots on goal in 18:43 of ice time. He and his teammates had a golden opportunity to grab the lead in the second period, when Detroit outshot Pittsburgh 14-4. But the game remained tied 2-2 going into the third.
Hossa's former team took over from there and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal when Sergei Gonchar converted on the power play with 9:31 remaining. The Pens went 2-for-3 with the man advantage in Game 3.
"I think we played a really good two periods," Hossa said. “They're a high-skilled team, and when you give them power plays, they have the ability to score goals. We just have to be aware of it."
One statistic to be aware of is the fact that all six of Hossa's goals this postseason have come in the fourth game of each series. While that could mean good things for the Wings on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), it also means their skilled forward has failed to score in 16 of Detroit's 19 playoff games.
"I don't think about it," said Hossa, who declined to sign a lucrative, long-term deal with the Pens in favor of a one-year contract in Detroit. "We just have to learn from this one. Obviously, these are two great teams going against each other. It's not going to be easy. We have to regroup and get ready for Game 4."
Clearly, the Wings will have to be better on the penalty kill on Thursday night. With a chance to grab a 3-1 series lead, Hossa knows giving his former teammates power-play opportunities will hinder Detroit's chances of having a crack at winning a championship on home ice Saturday.
"They scored two goals, and that was huge," Hossa said of Pittsburgh's power play. "They played well. We just have to learn from some mistakes, but I think we played a pretty good game, too."
Nonetheless, the Penguins have a made this a series again. While nobody in the Wings' dressing room was thinking sweep prior to Game 1, Detroit did miss a chance on Tuesday night to really put a stranglehold on the two-time Eastern Conference champions. Instead, the Pens now have a chance to make it a best-of-three with another victory here on Thursday.
"That would have been nice, but everybody knows what a high-skilled team they are," Hossa said. "It's not going to be easy. It's the Stanley Cup Final, and it's a grind out there."
Contact Brian Compton at: firstname.lastname@example.org