- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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Newcomer Kim Johnsson passed his initial test as a Hawk, helping his new team to a 4-3 shootout victory in his debut Saturday night. It took him all of just under 10 minutes to score his first goal on a sweet give- and-go with Patrick Kane.
“I got a great feed by Kane there, and [Jonathan] Toews had a great screen on the goalie so he couldn’t see the puck, so all I had to do was just hit the net there,” Johnsson said after the game.
Johnsson passed it to Kane on the boards and then started to drive the net before getting the return feed.
“Nice play, and Kaner has some good play selections when it was on his stick,” coach Joel Quenneville continued. “Good place to go in that open area. I think he’s [Johnsson] going to enjoy some of those cycle shifts, and going to the right area is important there.”
That goal put the Hawks up 2-1; they would lead 3-1 after the first period, but that’s when things went south. A three-goal second period by Atlanta put the Hawks in comeback mode.
“It was a little loose,” Johnsson explained. “I think we got away from the way we can play. We bounced back in the third and played well.”
“We had a false impression on how the game was going to play out,” Quenneville continued. “We may have been fortunate to be up 3-1. Early in that second period, I probably should have called time out [based on] how sloppily we started that period. It’s not the way we want to play.”
Johnsson played 19:24, including time on both special teams units. He was on the ice for one goal against and was happy to get the first one over with.
“It’s going to be steps,” Johnsson said. “There’s a ton to take in right now.”
“I thought his puck possession and his movement with the puck both offensively and defensively was real strong,” Quenneville added.
Marian Hossa left the game early in the third period after taking a hit by Colby Armstrong. It was one of those possible concussion- type blows and Joel Quenneville declared him doubtful for Sunday’s game in Columbus. He said it was too early to comment on his status for the Olympics.
Jonathan Toews was the lone goal scorer in the shootout. After the game, he looked at Patrick Kane in the next locker stall and asked if his shootout record is better than his good friend. It is. Toews is 7 for 11 on the season while Kane is 3 for 12.
“It’s about the one thing I got on him,” Toews joked.
Tomas Kopecky took an unsportsmanlike penalty late in the second period and Atlanta scored instantly scored. Kopecky didn’t see the ice the rest of the game. Quenneville indicated with referees calling things tighter lately, players have to “be smart.”