SAN JOSE, Calif. – Welcome to the Chicago Blackhawks, Marian Hossa.
Hossa scored twice in his long-anticipated first game for Chicago, and the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 7-2 on Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory. “It was nice for ‘House’ to come in and have a meaningful game,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a good start to his Blackhawks career. I’ll be interested in seeing how his line works out from here.”
Hossa, who signed a US$62.8 million, 12-year contract with Chicago after scoring 40 goals for Detroit last season, had shoulder surgery four months ago.
“I was just trying to get into game shape and trying to make good plays,” Hossa said. “I wanted to keep things simple. Who would say we would go 7-2? Everybody played a great game and my shoulder felt fine. I took a couple of hits and it was OK.”
Troy Brouwer, Patrick Sharp, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Seabrook and John Madden also scored for the Blackhawks, playing the fourth game of a six-game trip. Cristobal Huet made 22 saves to help send San Jose its first home regulation loss of the season.
“You never know coming into a game,” Quenneville said. “We got contributions across the board.”
Chicago had three short-handed goals, the most San Jose has ever allowed.
“You give up three shorties in one night, you’re not winning,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski scored late goals for San Jose.
“I don’t think frustration is the word,” Boyle said. “We should be embarrassed about the way we came out and played. That was ugly. Seven goals? That’s breakdowns from everybody. That’s just bad hockey.”
The Blackhawks have scored 34 goals during their winning streak.
“We feel like we have lots of energy and we want to keep going,” Hossa said. “I didn’t expect to click right away like that.”
Brouwer got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard with his seventh goal of the season, a short-handed goal with 2:15 left in the first period. He skated behind the Sharks’ defenders and scored into the upper right corner.
“This is humbling,” McLellan said. “When you’re not prepared to play and you’re not alert, those things can happen, especially when you’re playing, perhaps, the top team in the NHL.”
Hossa and Sharp scored short-handed goals in a 28-second span in the second period. Byfuglien added a goal midway through the second period, punching in a rebound to give the Blackhawks a 4-0 advantage.
“We knew the standings coming into the game and coming into their building it’s not an easy place to play,” Blackhawks defender Duncan Keith said. “But we came out hard and we got those short-handed goals and that took us a long way.”
Seabrook scored on a slapshot from just inside the blue line early in the third, and Hossa added his second goal before Madden completed the Blackhawks’ scoring.
Boyle scored on a 5-on-3 power play, and Pavelski scored with just over 2 minutes to play.
NOTES: Quenneville is one win shy of 500. … Sharp scored his second goal in 17 games after opening the season with five in his first six. … Sharks left-winger Dany Heatley has 19 points in his last 18 games. … Brouwer has points in five of his last six games. … The Sharks recalled forwards Benn Ferriero and Steven Zalewski and defenceman Joe Callahan from Worcester of the AHL for the game.