x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 August 2017

Hossa is too hot to handle

The Detroit Red Wings crushed the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 on Sunday to move within a game of their second consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup final.

Detroit Red Wings' Marian Hossa, left, celebrates one of his goals with Jonathan Ericsson and Valtteri Filppula.
Detroit Red Wings' Marian Hossa, left, celebrates one of his goals with Jonathan Ericsson and Valtteri Filppula.

CHICAGO // The Detroit Red Wings crushed the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 on Sunday to move within a game of their second consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup final. Winger Marian Hossa starred with two goals for the Red Wings, including a short-handed shot to open the scoring at 8:41 and another just 12 seconds after Chicago scored in the second period to chip into Detroit's 3-0 lead. "Obviously we're really hopeful that we're going to be able to close out the Hawks," said the Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "But they're a good team. They're going to bounce back and play us hard. I thought in particular the fourth goal put a knife in 'em," said Babcock as his side took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Hossa, who had gone six games without a goal, said he was aware of the need to step up with teammates Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom sidelined by injury. "I had to drive to the net more often, be more dangerous, be more physical. I told myself I just had to play more relaxed. Play with more instinct," Hossa said. Detroit's Johan Franzen contributed a team-high 10th goal of the play-offs and Valterri Filppula chipped in with a goal and two assists before the centre Henrik Zetterberg scored the Red Wings' final two goals, both on power-plays. "We tried to play with poise, and we tried to play physical hockey," Zetterberg said.

The smothering Red Wings' defence frustrated the young Chicago team, who were slapped with 16 penalties to Detroit's seven and outplayed on most key measures. Jonathan Toews, the Chicago captain, avoided the shut-out with a backhanded tip-in of Cam Barker's slap-shot past the Detroit goalie Chris Osgood at 3:53 in the second period. But Osgood stopped 18 of 19 Blackhawk shots before being rested for the final period due to dehydration. Back up Ty Conklin fended off nine Chicago shots.

* Reuters