Cold Steel on Ice has opened up the season hotter than hell. A day after spoiling the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings' banner and ring ceremony at the Staples Center, the Chicago Blackhawks traveled to the desert where they downed the Phoenix Coyotes 6-4 Sunday night at Jobbing.com Arena.
With the wins, the Blackhawks find themselves starting a season 2-0 for the first time since the 1996-1997 campaign. Although it's early, by handily defeating both of last season's Western Conference finalists on the road, the Hawks are looking more like a team poised to make another serious run at the Cup than the inconsistent and unfocused squads of the past two seasons.
Marian Hossa added 2 goals for a second straight game. The NHL's leading scorer with five points (4 goals, 1 assist) has shown no ill-effects from the concussion that ended his season prematurely, only three games into last season's playoffs, when he was knocked out by a vicious, illegal head-shot from Raffi Torres.
A rejuvenated Patrick Kane has carried his stellar Swiss League point-a-game play into the young season where he ranks just behind Hossa with four points (1 goal, 3 assists). After scoring the Hawks first goal of the year on Saturday, Kaner has excelled as a distributor. He dished out two more assists Sunday night to give him three on the season, good for second in the league.
The always dependable 'Captain Serious' aka Jonathan Toews leads the league in +/- rating, (+5), and is followed by four Blackhawks teammates: Johnny Oduya (+4), Marian Hossa (+3), Niklas Hjalmarsson (+3), and Daniel Carcillo (+3). While it was particularly encouraging to see Carcillo having a positive early impact, he is expected to be out for a month after suffering a lower body injury in Saturday's game. The game was the first Carcillo had played since tearing the ACL in his left knee against the Edmonton Oilers on January 2, 2012.
Goaltenders Cory Crawford and Ray Emery both looked strong while earning victories, outplaying last year's Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick and the Hawks personal playoff boogeyman, Mike Smith, in back-to-back games. Next up for the Hawks is the home opener at the United Center versus their Central Division foes, and last year's Western Conference #1 seed, the St. Louis Blues.
via Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc), Chicago Tribune. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane go their separate ways
Filed under: Mayor Daily Sports
Tags: Arizona, Chicago Blackhawks, Conn Smythe, Cory Crawford, Daniel Carcillo, Edmonton Oilers, Glendale, Jobbing.com Arena, Johnny Oduya, Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Toews, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Hossa, Mike Smith, NHL, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Patrick Kane, Phoenix Coyotes, Raffi Torres, Ray Emery, St. Louis Blues, Staples Center, Swiss League, United Center