CHICAGO (AP) — Marian Hossa skated as if he had been recharged during a five-game vacation — not sidelined for five games with an upper-body injury.
The Blackhawks' 35-year-old forward celebrated his return to the lineup with plenty of energy — resulting in a key goal and two assists — and Chicago defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday night to snap a two-game losing streak.
"It's great to come back and try to help the team," Hossa said. "It's five games, so I don't know how much fresher I'll be than the other guys. But there's some benefit, maybe."
Hossa was back in action for the first time in two weeks. He was knocked out in the Blackhawks' 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Soldier Field on March 1.
On Sunday, Chicago lead 2-1 after 40 minutes, then Hossa put the game away with two big plays in the third period.
"He changes the look, the complexion of our line, of our team game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We seem to have the puck a lot more when he's out there.
"He made some nice finished plays and he definitely had some nice jump to his game, as well. It made a big difference having him back tonight."
Hossa used his speed to give Chicago a 3-1 lead at 6:33 of the third. After taking a feed from Patrick Sharp, Hossa raced down the right wing, cut in around Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith and beat Jimmy Howard from close range.
"He was coming with so much speed, I thought he was going to try to drag me across (the crease)," Howard said.
Hossa's set up Jonathan Toews' short-handed goal with 2:10 left that iced it.
After stealing the puck from Johan Franzen near Chicago's blue line, Hossa skated down the right wing. He pulled up and then fed Toews, who cut to the net and tucked in a shot.
Ben Smith had a goal and assist, and Nick Leddy also scored for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which is struggling to keep up with the top contenders in the Western Conference. Despite the win, the Blackhawks are 11-8-7 in 2014 and remained fifth in the conference and third in the Central Division.
Gustav Nyquist scored for the injury-depleted Red Wings, who are desperate for wins as they try to get into the playoffs for the 23rd straight time.
Chicago's Corey Crawford made 19 saves and Detroit's Jimmy Howard had 26.
"We felt good going into the third, but obviously Hossa's goal really made it a two-goal game and makes it tough for us," Detroit Daniel Alfredsson said.
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