Welcome to Week 5 of Blackhawk Up’s Three Stars of the week. In the past 7 days, we have seen the Blackhawks fall to the Washington Capitals at home, before an offensive outburst in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. The ‘Hawks capped off the week with a 3-2 shootout win against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
#3: Marcus Kruger
Nov 9, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) skates past San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Kruger didn’t tear up the scoresheet in Week 5, but he played his role to near perfection, and that was enough to catch the eye of Blackhawks’ fans. Kruger knocked in his first goal of the year against the Lightning, a week after his goal against the Montreal Canadiens was taken away and awarded to Kris Versteeg. Kruger also had an assist in the win against the Sharks, bringing his season totals to 4 points in 16 games. This offensive contribution is something fans have been looking for since Kruger’s move to the third line, and with two hungry wingers in Ben Smith and Bryan Bickell on each side, look for this upwards trend to continue.
#2: Marian Hossa
Nov 9, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) skates on San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
At 35, Marian Hossa continues to dazzle. He has arguably been the Blackhawks’ best forward through the first five weeks of the season, and with Patrick Sharp out for a significant stretch of time, it’s exactly what the team needs. Hossa had an assist in each of the Blackhawks’ three games this week, and he is now at 2 goals-6 assists- 8 points for the season. He has been a workhorse, spending time on the power-play unit, as well as his top-six contribution. In the extra-time thriller against the Lightning, Hossa cracked the 20-minute margin in Time On Ice for the first time this season. Not bad for the oldest forward on the Blackhawks’ roster.
#1: Brad Richards
Nov 11, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Brad Richards (91) is greeted after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Following in the footsteps of Hossa, it’s another veteran with a big impact in Week 5. Brad Richards has finally broken out, and has quickly become a staple of the ‘Hawks offense. Despite not playing over 12 minutes of ice time in the past four games, Richards has found the scoresheet in each, with 2 goals and 2 assists in that span. After a slow start, this is the Brad Richards Blackhawks’ fans have been looking for; the compliment to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Don’t expect Richards to shoulder the load, but as long as #91 keeps chipping in points, the Blackhawks will be in good shape.
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