Tag: Marian Hossa

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Video: Ducks hold off Blackhawks in Game 3 to take series lead


Patrick Kane had the puck on his stick, only seconds left in regulation, with a chance to send Game 3 to overtime. He missed, just barely, his shot sliding off the outside of the post.

And from there, the Anaheim Ducks were able to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks to take Thursday’s game by a final score of 2-1, which now also happens to be Anaheim’s lead in this Western Conference Final.

Sorry, no marathon overtime.

Simon Despres had never scored a Stanley Cup playoff goal before Thursday. His slap shot blast that beat Corey Crawford in the final minute of the second period stood as the winner. Talk about perfect timing.

The Blackhawks had their chances, but couldn’t take advantage.

They had five power play opportunities and were unsuccessful with each and every one of them. They are now 2-for-13 in the series. Their only goals with the advantage were in Game 2.

Chicago’s top players are also struggling to produce offensively so far in this series.

Kane did score late in the opening period for his first goal and point of this series. Jonathan Toews has only one point — an assist in Game 2. Marian Hossa has only one point. Patrick Sharp doesn’t have a point in four games.

It’s something to keep an eye on for Game 4 on Saturday.

Video: Blackhawks power play strikes twice early in Game 2


The Chicago Blackhawks, trailing 1-0 in this Western Conference Final, got off to a quick start in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, courtesy of their power play.

Andrew Shaw opened the scoring just 2:14 into the first period with his second of the post-season, making Patrick Maroon pay for an earlier boarding penalty.

Just over four minutes later, the Blackhawks increased their lead thanks to a Marian Hossa power play goal, also his second of these playoffs.

However, any Blackhawks’ euphoria from the dream start was short-lived. The Ducks, on a goal from Andrew Cogliano, cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1 just before the midway point of the first period.

The puck deflected in off the skate of Cogliano, but the goal stood after a brief review.

Even Vanek admits he let the Wild down

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two

The Minnesota Wild signed Thomas Vanek to a lucrative deal with this in mind: they finally wanted to get over the hump against the Chicago Blackhawks. Vanek’s detractors would counter that he was the last guy who would accomplish such a task.

Unfortunately for the Wild, Vanek-haters seem to be correct, at least for one season. At least if you look at the results.

Even Vanek is disappointed with his play, as the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff reports.

“I knew I only needed one to get going and I didn’t get it. I let them down,” Vanek said. “Their scorers scored when they needed to with timely goals and I didn’t.”

The 31-year-old didn’t just fail to score timely goals. He didn’t find the net in garbage time or merely to give Minnesota a little “insurance” either. In 10 playoff games, Vanek failed to score a single goal, settling for four assists.

Now, even the best snipers – a group Vanek belongs to, or at least once did – can hit a wall during the precious few games that make up a postseason. The 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs provide plenty of examples, from Steven Stamkos to Rick Nash. Marian Hossa’s struggles to get a bounce even flew under the radar, as his only goal of this playoff run so far came on an empty-netter in Game 4.

The key difference between Vanek and those other forwards is that, frankly, it’s tougher to gauge the effort from Vanek.

It’s not just a matter of puck luck failing him. Vanek only generated 19 shots on goal in 10 playoff games, and as flimsy as plus/minus can be, seeing him go pointless with a -4 mark in the last three contests isn’t promising. Unlike Hossa, Vanek doesn’t exactly draw rave reviews for his defensive play either, so it’s easy to understand the negativity surrounding the situation. NHL snipers don’t tend to age like fine wine, after all.

The key will be for him to play his game, and a big part of that is unleashing his shot with aplomb. Merely looking at his shot totals in 2013-14 (248 in 78 games with three different teams) versus this past season (just 171 in 80 contests with Minnesota), it’s reasonable to wonder if this was just an off year. Perhaps his off-the-ice issues were simply too much to overcome?

Whether it comes from within or from a coach saying the right words (Mike Yeo or perhaps someone else?), Vanek needs to turn things around.

At least he realizes as much, though.