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Hossa, not scoring, still contributing for Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- The fact Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa hasn't scored in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs was a surprise to Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook after the morning skate at United Center on Sunday.

"That's news to me," Seabrook said. "Seems like he scores every night."

Hossa, 36, is not the kind of goal-scorer who is going to lead the NHL in goals, but has become a daunting two-way menace to opposing teams. He has six assists heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN360, TVA Sports 2), and was an important part of Chicago's 4-3 Game 1 victory on Friday.

Hossa had an assist and four shots and helped the Blackhawks' top line dominate puck possession despite starting predominantly in the defensive zone.

"He's such a great player for us," Seabrook said. "He's been huge all playoffs long. He might not be scoring goals, but he's setting guys up for a lot of goals and doing a lot of stuff out there to help us be successful and win games."

Hossa, left wing Brandon Saad and center Jonathan Toews have excelled this postseason as Chicago's top line. They're dedicated to succeeding at each end of the ice and all three have good size and strength.

Almost 80 percent of their zone starts in Game 1 against the Wild happened in Chicago's defensive zone, yet all three posted Shot Attempt Percentage numbers in the mid-60s.

Saad and Toews each have three goals, and Hossa delivered the primary assist on three of them, including two of Saad's goals. Five of Hossa's six assists have been primary assists. He has taken 28 shots on goal to rank fourth among all players in the postseason.

"I just think his positioning is A-1, as far as perfect," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Obviously, everybody likes to score and [we] would like to see more production that way, but I still think you play the team game and sometimes they're going to go in for you. We still expect him to score, but we know he’s going to play the right way."

If the Blackhawks keep winning, Hossa won't mind. He took the same approach a year ago, when had two goals, 12 assists and a 2.7 shooting percentage on 75 shots in the 2014 playoffs.

"Definitely I used to score [more], but right now I try not to think about these things, because I feel my game is pretty good offensively," Hossa said. "I'm creating lots of chances. Obviously, I'd like to get that first [goal], but if not and we win, then I'm OK with it."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter

Matt Cooke - Erik Haula - Kyle Brodziak

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Jordan Leopold - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Ryan Carter, Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Sean Bergenheim,

Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Justin Fontaine (lower body), Keith Ballard (concussion)

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Bryan BickellBrad RichardsPatrick Kane

Patrick SharpAntoine VermetteTeuvo Teravainen

Andrew DesjardinsMarcus KrugerAndrew Shaw

Duncan KeithMichal Rozsival

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Kimmo TimonenBrent Seabrook

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Joakim Nordstrom, Daniel Carcillo, David Rundblad, Kyle Cumiskey, Michael Paliotta,

Antti Raanta

Injured: Kris Versteeg (lower body)

Status report: Versteeg didn't skate for the fourth straight day because of a lower-body injury.

Who's hot: Keith had two assists in Game 1 and leads the Blackhawks in playoff scoring with two goals and seven assists.

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