Brouwer's strong game boosts confidence, Hawks
Sunday, 05.30.2010 / 10:07 AM CT / News
By Dan Rosen - NHL.com senior writer
CHICAGO -- All Troy Brouwer wanted to do Saturday night was be ready at game time and build some confidence for the rest of the Stanley Cup Final.
Brouwer, Chicago's second-line left wing, scored twice, added an assist and was credited with four hits in less than 14 minutes of ice time to help the Blackhawks to a wild 6-5 victory in Game 1 against Philadelphia.
He's got himself that confidence now.
"I think he'll be the first to tell you that they were two good plays by 'Hoss' (Marian Hossa), but they were great shots by Troy," said Patrick Sharp, the center on the Hawks' No. 2 line. "It's nice to see him get some confidence and put the puck in the net."
Brouwer, who now has 4 goals and 2 assists in 14 playoff games, indeed did credit Hossa, and rightfully so, for both of his goals. Hossa made the plays from behind the goal to set up Brouwer for each of his one-timers.
"'Hoss' is obviously a great player in this League, and everybody knows it," Brouwer said. "The other team is going to key on him a little bit more. That gives me an opportunity to get open."
Brouwer scored 7:46 into the game, only 68 seconds after Ville Leino had given the Flyers an early 1-0 lead, by smashing a one-timer from just inside the Stanley Cup Final logo inside the zone.
Hossa won the puck battle against Ryan Parent at the goal line and skated into the right circle before feathering a perfect backhanded pass to a wide-open Brouwer for the blast past Michael Leighton.
Brouwer's second goal with 4:42 left in the second period gave the Hawks a short-lived 5-4 lead. This time, Hossa dangled behind the net and drew the attention of three Flyers, all of whom had their backs turned when Brouwer cut down the middle. Hossa eyed him and made a sweet pass that Brouwer slammed into the top right corner of the net.
It was the last shot Leighton would face Saturday night.
"(Hossa) is so good with his puck possession and vision that as long as you get open … like in the first goal he fended off two or three guys in the corner, brought it to the front and was able to make a great backhand pass to me," Brouwer said. "With him, you just kind of got to let him do his thing and get open, and he'll find you."
Hossa was happy to be the setup man Saturday night since he is struggling to put the puck in the net. He has only 2 goals in the playoffs, but now has 11 assists.
"Somebody has to push the puck, and Troy was in great position," Hossa said. "He just kept getting open, and I tried to find him because he was in a better position and he made the two great shots."
Brouwer had 22 goals in the regular season, so it's not like he's an unlikely source of offense. However, when the Hawks' top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien goes silent (no points and a combined minus-9), production from guys like Brouwer is essential.
"He's a big body and he gets to those dirty areas," Sharp said. "I think he scored a lot of goals in junior and the minors and he's found his scoring touch here recently. We've got to have him continue to play like that going forward."
Brouwer definitely has the confidence now to be a factor in Game 2 as well.
"He's one of those power forwards that can be a factor and dangerous," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That whole line with Sharpy and Hossa was dangerous tonight."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer