Early on in Tuesday night's tilt between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, it looked like the typical 2014-15 matchup. The Blackhawks outshot their opponent early on, but had little to show for it and went down 1-0 on a shorthanded goal despite heavily dictating the Corsi side of things. They had a few glorious chances that were stifled by Ben Bishop before they finally broke through in the second.
It was an ugly one, for sure. Between Bishop suplexing Ben Smith, Andrew Shaw taking a crosscheck to the face, Brent Seabrook completely unnecessarily cross-checking Tyler Johnson in the midsection, and Jeremy Morin rolling around on the ice with J.T. Brown, this was a much more physical affair than initially anticipated. When the dust cleared, Patrick Kane flipped a beauty of a shootout goal over the left shoulder of Ben Bishop to send the Hawks home victorious from the United Center for the second straight time.
On to the stars:
3. Marian Hossa
I've been inexplicably lacking in the Marian Hossa Love Department, so here it is. It was a typical Hossa performance. He was second on the team in Corsi for the night and added an assist on the go-ahead goal in the third period. He was a plus-1 for the evening, logged over six minutes on the power play, and another two while shorthanded. A stat that may go overlooked but shouldn't because this is what Hossa does: four takeaways on the night.
2. Kris Versteeg
If you thought my incessant favoritism of Kris Versteeg was going to put him in the top spot, the joke's on you. Regardless of how you feel about the embattled winger, he was absolutely outstanding for the Hawks on Tuesday. He made smart decisions with the puck, including a couple of 2-on-1 chances in which his passes should have been converted. He had an assist for the night on the Richards goal and didn't steal a goal from a rookie. Good things all around.
1. Brad Richards
Richards continues to improve as a member of the Blackhawks. We're going to overlook the play that led to the initial Tampa Bay score in the first period and focus on the good stuff. Richards was noticeable again and finished third among Hawk forwards in the Corsi department. He ripped a shot past Ben Bishop midway through the second period to even things up, his third goal of the year. He only took six draws on the night, but won half of them, in addition to finishing second on the team with four shots for the game.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.