Let's not get carried away, Patrick. But, yes, it is a start.
Hossa, a three-time 40-goal scorer in his NHL career, had not scored in the last eight games of the postseason. Prior to Monday night, he had just two goals in Chicago's 17 playoff games. While Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was forced to spin the story of Hossa's play as a tribute to him doing the little things, the franchise did not sign the unrestricted free agent to a 12-year, $62.8 million contract last summer to be a grinder.
Hossa's goal to open the scoring with three minutes left in the second period was exactly the kind of garbage picker-upper a scorer needs. As Patrick Sharp's shot was saved by Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, both Hossa and Troy Brouwer battled Flyers defensemen Lukas Krajicek and Oskars Bartulis for the puck in the net. The Chicago forwards won, and Hossa chipped the loose puck over Leighton for the goal.
"It's been a long time," said Hossa. "I was looking for some ugly goal like that to get the offense going. A relief, definitely."
"It was great to see Hossa get that one," said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith. "Just a nice play being right around the net and getting the rebound. He's had a lot of chances to score goals. He just hasn't been able to get it in. He's been creating chances for us all throughout the playoffs, last game especially. So nice to see him get one."
While Keith may have exaggerated Hossa's impact thorughout the playoffs because the defenseman is a good teammate, he was right in praising the wing's play so far in the Stanley Cup Final. Loss a bit in the sideshow of the Blackhawks' 6-5 victory in Game 1 was Hossa's superb play, including his first assists on a pair of Chicago goals.
Getting on the scoresheet on Monday appeared to give Hossa increased confidence for Game 2. In 18:54 of icetime, Hossa had three shots on goal and was credited with a pair of hits and a takeaway.
"There's no question Hossa has put together two of his best games the last two nights," said Blackhawks teammate John Madden. "No better time for him to play his best. He has been outstanding for us in every zone since the start of the Final. To finish the job, that's the Marian Hossa we need. I have a lot of confidence he'll continue to play well the rest of the way."
During the highs and lows of an inconsistent season, Hossa squirms when asked to speak about his play. He was quick to defend the performances of fellow stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, pointless through two games of the series. "They're not struggling," said Hossa. "Our first line was carrying the team through the whole playoffs. They're creating chances. We have good depth, and the other lines have stepped up."
Looking ahead to Game 3 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, Hossa called it "one of the most important games we play this year."
Hossa's improved play, just in time, is one of the most important developments in the Blackhawks' quest for their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.