Hossa and Toews lead the Blackhawks past Winnipeg 6-3 - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Hossa and Toews lead the Blackhawks past Winnipeg 6-3

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

If the Chicago Blackhawks needed an elixir to get back on track the Winnipeg Jets were just what the doctor ordered. For the third time this season Chicago defeated Winnipeg, this time by a final score of 6-3.

Marian Hossa returned after a three game absence due to a lower body injury and his presence was felt.

Hockey is very much a team sport. Many times the difference between winning and losing can't be assigned to one or two players only. Thursday night that wasn't the case as Hossa was a difference maker along with Jonathan Toews. Those two were the best players on the ice.

As a team, the Hawks aren't playing their best hockey but against Winnipeg that isn't needed. Quenneville remarked he was happy with his club's effort, but the Jets didn't play a complete game and are not a deep club. What was a noticeable improvement over some recent efforts is that the Blackhawks started the game in a better fashion and played a very solid third period.

Hossa came back from a three game absence to record a goal, an assist and had a game high three takeaways. He was a plus three on the night and was impressive on both sides of the puck. Right with Hossa's performance was Toews who notched a goal and three assists. Toews was also a force in the faceoff circle winning 18 of 26 draws.

The game was tied at three after 40 minutes and the Jets opened the third frame with a burst. Overall Corey Crawford wasn't as solid as he can be, but he stood tall when the Jets mounted their biggest threat. Maybe fatigue is a factor as Crawford probably should have stopped a couple of the Jets goals. It would be a surprise if Crawford wasn't tired as he has played in more games than any other goaltender. Crawford has started 19 of 23 contests and has appeared in relief in two others.

Joel Quenneville must see the tight Western Conference standings in his sleep so there is no telling when Crawford will get a rest. It's safe to say he could use a couple of games off but the road trip continues on Saturday night in Vancouver. It seemed like the Jets game was the ideal time to give Antti Raanta a start but it wasn't to be. Quenneville likely won't play Raanta versus the Canucks, but the rookie netminder should see some action next week.

The adrenaline must have worn off of Kris Versteeg following last week's big trade. He wasn't noticeable Thursday night but other Hawks had solid efforts. Hard working Ben Smith was rewarded with a goal. Brandon Saad finished off a beautiful Hossa feed and scored. Patrick Kane recorded a power play goal and Patrick Sharp added an empty net tally.

The best players led the charge for the Blackhawks and the defense was tighter. Brent Seabrook had one of his better games of the season. Seabrook was involved in a couple of encounters with Evander Kane. Maybe that helped to charge up Seabrook as he finished a plus four with three hits.

The Canucks will be coming off a Friday encounter with Columbus but should be ready to play their hated rival the following night.

Al's Shots

There is some good news and not so good news on the injury front.

Michal Handzus is close to returning to action and defenseman Michael Kostka has begun skating.

On a sour note, Bryan Bickell could be out two or three weeks. It has been reported Bickell suffered a left knee injury versus Colorado.

Jeremy Morin was back in the lineup and played 7:12. Morin was involved but it remains to be seen if he will stay in Chicago once Handzus is ready to return.

The Blackhawks penalty killing is still struggling after giving up two power play markers to the Jets.

I will be back on Sunday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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