Blackhawks’ Three Stars
Third Star: Marian Hossa
After shutting down for a few games, Marian Hossa continues his great season that has transcended age. In the last 5 games, Hossa has 2 goals and 3 assists. Of those goals was the game-winning goal in Boston with 2 minutes left in regulation on a beautiful pass from Tanner Kero.
Many of us had concerns with Hossa coming into this year since he was playing on the third line last year in the playoffs. At 38 years old, Hossa is proving his doubters wrong by scoring 18 goals with 12 assists.
He also still back-checks at full speed and possesses the puck in the offensive zone better than almost anybody on the team. There isn’t a better player to lead by example for all the young forwards on this Blackhawks team than Hossa.
Second Star: Scott Darling
Winning games in the NHL isn’t easy. Winning games on the road in the NHL isn’t easy. Getting a shutout on the road with 30 saves is pretty darn impressive.
Scott Darling did so Friday night against a pretty good Bruins team. With that win, Darling’s record improves to 18-12-4 with a save percentage of .928 and a goals-allowed average of 2.21. The Blackhawks are so very lucky to have two goalies the team can trust on any given night.
But Darling has become a fan favorite. Being a local kid, people have supported him and appreciate his attitude towards winning. Whether he stays with the Blackhawks or ends up hitting the free agent market, Darling will always be respected in this city.
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First Star: Jonathan Toews
Last night, captain Jonathan Toews had a four-point game with 1 goal and 4 assists. He scored the go-ahead goal against the Canucks that helped the ’Hawks win their third game in a row.
Before the games against Vancouver, Toews had just 4 points in the last 9 games. Having one of his slower starts to a season, Toews has been criticized for not contributing enough considering his production in the past and his league-high annual salary.
The good thing for the Blackhawks is we haven’t seen the best of Toews yet this year and hopefully he has found his stride.
Even though his points took a spike, an area that has been a struggle for Toews the last 5 games has been the faceoff circle. His faceoff percentage the last 5 games has only been above 50 twice.
Luckily, the Blackhawks have been able to sneak out a lot of close games and have been racking up points in unconventional ways. Let’s hope that this is the turning point for Toews.
Honorable Mention: Dennis Rasmussen
Much like the offensive line of a football team, grinders don’t get too much praise because much of their work isn’t quantifiable. Rarely do we notice a guy who is averaging 10 minutes of ice time and has 1 point in his last 5 games, but Dennis Rasmussen is owed some recognition.
At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Rasmussen is the perfect apprentice of Marcus Kruger. Kruger was recently awarded a $9 million contract for his penalty killing and defensive capabilities, both characteristics Rasmussen does well.
In the last couple games, Rasmussen has been noticeable by getting the puck deep and winning puck battles in the corners. His efforts have been converted into production and represent exactly the type of player the ’Hawks will need come playoff time.