(Sports Network) - Set to open the season playing 10 of their first 12 on the
road, the Chicago Blackhawks knew a slow start would put them in a major hole.
A healthy Marian Hossa has made sure that hasn't happened.
The 2-0 Blackhawks open up their home schedule on Tuesday night as they host
the division-rival St. Louis Blues.
Perhaps no player in the league benefited from the lockout more than Hossa,
who likely would not have been ready to play in an October start after
suffering a concussion in Game 3 of last season's Western Conference
quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes. Hossa left that game on a stretcher
after taking a hit to the head from the Coyotes' Raffi Torres, who was
suspended for the check.
Hossa had a pair of goals and an assist in Saturday's season-opening win at
Los Angeles and then notched another two tallies in Sunday's 6-4 revenge win
over the Coyotes.
"No hard feelings," Hossa said of the playing the Coyotes. "I just tried to
take it as another game for me, just prepared as I always do. A big two
Dave Bolland added two goals and an assist for Chicago, which lost that
playoff series to Phoenix in six games.
Ray Emery made 25 saves in the victory for a Blackhawks club that will play
eight of its next nine on the road following this game.
Chicago did have the fourth-best home record in the NHL last season, going
27-8-6. That included a victory in all three meetings with St. Louis as the
Blackhawks have won seven straight and nine of their last 10 at home versus
Hossa had three goals and six points in six games versus the Blues last season
as Chicago won the season series 4-2.
St. Louis is also 2-0 on the season and is coming off a road victory in
Nashville on Monday night. Brian Elliott was called upon in relief and stopped
all 13 shots he faced through overtime before turning away both skaters in a
shootout as the Blues claimed a 4-3 win.
T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen had shootout goals for the Blues.
Elliott came into the game after Jaroslav Halak yielded his third goal on the
11th shot he faced with 7:07 left in the second period. As Elliott pitched a
shutout on his end, Alex Pietrangelo netted the game-tying goal with 7:50 left
in the third.
"I was really happy with the way we stuck with it in the third. We just kept
coming and coming and coming," said St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, who is
expected to start Elliott in this game.
Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko continued his excellent start, following up a two-
goal debut in Saturday's 6-0 win over Detroit with a goal and two assists
versus Nashville. His five points through his first two NHL games equals the
most ever by a Blues rookie in that span. The mark was first set by Wayne
Babych in 1978.
Steen is set to become the 53rd Swedish skater to play in 500 NHL games on
Tuesday night, while this game could also mark the Blues debut of defenseman
Redden was signed on Sunday after having his contract bought out by the New
York Rangers last week. The Rangers had banished Redden to the Connecticut
Whale of the AHL over the previous two seasons.
The 13-year NHL vet traveled with the team but did not play on Monday.
The Sports Network