Marian Hossa's not a "third liner." He's a fourth liner!
Give Joel Quenneville credit. It's likely he knew that in facing one of the league's worst defenses last night, there might be some big mismatches and scoring opportunities versus the opponent's depth defenders.
That's what happened last night, as Quenneville's newly-cobbled "fourth line" of future Hall of Famer Marian Hossa, Vince Hinostroza, and Tanner Kero tore through the Avalanche in the third period, en route to a 6-4 win in Denver.
It was a needed comeback, as the Hawks went down 4-3 after two periods in what was (psychologically at least) a must-win game—and looked just plain awful in the second period. Brent Seabrook and Michal Kempny were torched on three Av goals early on, before coming back to go +1 each for the night.
Likely, some fans are racing to carve Hinostroza and Kero (who both scored two goals) into Mount Rushmore this morning. But that needs to be tempered by the fact that they were playing with a future Hall of Famer and against a bad defensive team.
We saw more of what we already knew about Hinostroza (definitely) and Kero (possibly): they can contribute at the NHL level. When they're ripping it up against good teams? Then, you get excited.
And congrats to Hossa on his 600th NHL assist, one of three recorded last night for the "ageless wonder."
All that said, you have to be somewhat encouraged that the Hawks came out and took over the game in the third period. As a serious playoff contender, however, that's what they should be able to do versus Colorado. And they did.
By the way, those angling for a Jarome Iginla acquisition, take note: he was on the ice for the last 4 Hawk goals.
It will be interesting to see if Quenneville stays with these lines (with AK-72 intact, and Jonathan Toews centering Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik) Friday night in Boston—a deeper and better team. He likely will.