The Penguins’ goal in acquiring Marian Hossa was to find a high-scoring winger who could mesh well with Sidney Crosby and improve the team’s penalty killing.
The two have thrived playing on a line that features Pascal Dupuis, who came to the Penguins in the same trade that netted Hossa from Atlanta.
Crosby is tied with Evgeni Malkin for second in NHL playoff scoring with 14 points (2+12), while Hossa is second behind Malkin for the team lead in postseason goals (5) and behind both young centers with 10 points (5+5).
And, the team’s penalty kill ranks second in the postseason.
“Having Hossa to be able to play with Crosby has been a key factor for us, there's no doubt,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.
Hossa suffered a knee injury in his first game with the Penguins. Combined with Crosby’s ankle injury, the two had little time to mesh during the regular season. However, the two are coming on strong in the playoffs.
“I think so. We’re creating lots of chances. We’d like to maybe score more, but maybe we’re saving them all for the next series,” Hossa said. “If we play a little longer, I think we’d be even better. We dealt with some injuries and that’s the reality. We had just a short time to play together, but I think the chemistry is there and I think it’s going to be even better.”
Hossa has been impressed with Crosby’s playmaking abilities.
“He’s an excellent player. He tries to set me up all the time for scoring chances. We basically try to help each other. So, it’s going well,” he said. “He’s setting me up so much. I should have more goals than I have, but we’re winning and that’s all that matters.”
Crosby had little trouble adjusting to Hossa on his right wing.
“He creates a lot. He has speed and strength. He can create space a lot of ways. He can outmuscle guys and he’s smart so he knows where to go,” Crosby said. “Definitely, he’s an easy guy to play with.”
While the two have combined for 24 points and seven goals so far in the postseason, Crosby and Hossa are hungry for more.
“We probably put more pressure on ourselves to produce. Personally, I do because I’m playing with a great player like that,” Crosby said. “The playoffs are tight. Obviously, I want to score, but it doesn’t always work out that way. As long as you’re creating chances – I’d say my first responsibility is as a playmaker, for the most part. As long as I am doing that and creating things, it’s fine.”