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Hossa has "special" night in Chicago's win over Phoenix

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Marian Hossa treated the game against Phoenix as if it were just another date, but his Chicago teammates knew it meant more.

"Going back to last year, what happened, this is a special night for him to come back and put points up. It was great for him," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said.

Hossa had two goals within three minutes of each other against the team that knocked him out of the playoffs last season, keying Chicago's 6-4 victory in the Coyotes' home opener Sunday.

Hossa suffered a season-ending concussion when he absorbed a hit from Phoenix defenseman Raffi Torres in Game 3 of the first round Western Conference playoff series between the two last season, a series the Coyotes won in six games. Torres was suspended for 20 games for his hit, including the first seven this season.

"I come to the game, no hard feelings. I tried to take it as just another game and just prepare as I always do and get some points. Winning in this building feels good," said Hossa, who led the Blackhawks with 77 points last season.

Hossa scored with 2:26 remaining in the second period for a 3-2 lead and added his second goal 14 seconds into the third period to make it 5-2, his second two-goal game of the season. Hossa had two goals and an assist when the Blackhawks opened the season with a 5-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

"I can't expect two goals every night, but it's nice to have a good start," Hossa said.

"The pucks are going in for him. He's a big part of our team, and it's nice to see him rebound and get off to a good start," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

Hossa was cleared to play in mid-November after testing on and off the ice.

"Coming back after his concussion, he's been great. The same Hossa game he's always played. His size. His stick. His vision. I think he's the best player we have in this league. Hossa is a crucial player in his lineup," said Bolland, who scored his first two goals of the season.

"They were patient with me. I got cleared, and I was confident. The good thing for me was, my head was clear and I wasn't afraid to go into the corners," Hossa said.

The Blackhawks (2-0) beat Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith for the first time in the last four regular season meetings after scoring only five goals against him in the regular season last year and then getting only 11 goals in six playoffs games.

"The bottom line is we have to be better as a group in front of 'Smitty' and he could be a little better," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg scored their first goals of the season in Chicago's three-goal second period, after the Coyotes had taken a 2-1 lead on Antoine Vermette's goal early in the period. Vermette was the Coyotes' leading scorer in the playoffs with 10 points last season

Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan scored 50 seconds apart early in the third period to close the gap to 5-4 before Bolland scored his second goal for the final margin. His first, on a power play, tied the game in the first period after Coyotes' wing David Moss scored 3:39 into the game.

"I think it was just a little too much run and gun. We gave them too many chances," Moss said.

NOTES: Chicago forward Daniel Carcillo is expected to miss about a month with a lower body injury suffered in a 5-2 victory over defending Stanley Cup winner Los Angeles on Saturday night, coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday. Carcillo, helped off the ice after colliding with Kings' defenseman Drew Doughty along the boards late in the third period, was playing in his first game since suffering a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in left knee against Edmonton on Jan. 2, 2012 and undergoing surgery Jan. 17. Left wing Brandon Saad replaced Carcillo on the Blackhawks' top line, joining center Jonathan Toews and Hossa. Saad, a second-round draft choice in 2011, had eight goals and 12 assists in 31 games with Rockford of the American Hockey League during the NHL lockout after playing in two regular-season games and two playoff games last season. ... Shane Doan, who signed a four-year, $21.2 million free agent deal to return to the Coyotes in the offseason, played in his 1,200th career game. He is eighth among active players in games played, and only he and New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur among the top 10 have all played all their games with the same franchise.

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