ST. LOUIS -- Friday afternoon, before the Blackhawks took the ice against the Blues in Game 5 of their NHL playoff series, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp faced the music.
Or rather, they faced a grating cacophony of questions from reporters wanting to know why they each had goose eggs in the goals column of the stat sheet through four games.
Their answers amounted to shoulder shrugs.
"I'll take all the chances I can get," Sharp said. "It means I'm creating something and doing something good out there."
Said Hossa: "We're definitely feeling like we're creating lot of chances. That's a good thing -- creating something. And it just doesn't matter who scores as long as there's a big win at the end."
In the Hawks' 3-2 overtime victory Friday night at Scottrade Center, one of them put an end to the queries.
Hossa kicked off the scoring for the night when he sent in a loose puck that lingered in front of Blues goaltender Ryan Miller at 16 minutes, 11 seconds in the first period.
Hossa was aggressive from the start, creating havoc in the Blues zone, a man on an apparent mission to end his scoring drought.
So what was the difference?
"The difference was I scored a goal," Hossa said after the Hawks had seized home ice advantage to take a 3-2 series lead to the United Center on Sunday.
Pretty simple. Hossa doesn't change too much of what he does. Through five games against the Blues, Hossa has put 28 shots on net.
"I try to play my 200-foot game. That's my priority," Hossa said. "Definitely you try to help offensively, but my game doesn't change whether I score or not."
That's what concerned Blues coach Ken Hitchcock the most.
"Hossa's greatest attributes aren't his play with the puck, it's his play without the puck," Hitchcock said. "He puts more pressure on people without the puck than anybody in the league.
"He doesn't need to score to be a significant player."
But it certainly helps the Blackhawks when he does. Coach Joel Quenneville echoed Hitchcock's comments, saying Hossa can disrupt a game without the puck as well as anyone.
"Sometimes he goes in stretches where they're not going in for him offensively," Quenneville said. "When you're not scoring and you're a scoring type of guy, you're just enhancing your team game and eventually you're going to get some production."
The production finally came at an opportune time for the Hawks.
"If I didn't score and we win that's great," Hossa said. "But I'm glad I could help offensively."
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