Hossa hoping the third time is his Stanley Cup charm

By Steve Keating

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Marian Hossa is not making any plans for his day with the Stanley Cup just yet despite his Chicago Blackhawks holding a comfortable 2-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL finals.

Playing in his third Stanley Cup finals in as many years - each with a different team - Hossa is hoping the third time is the charm.

The flashy forward has had one hand on the Stanley Cup before only to have it yanked away.

Last year playing for Detroit, Hossa was in the same position he is now as the Red Wings swept the first two games of the finals against Pittsburgh only to watch Sidney Crosby lead the Penguins back to win the Cup in seven.

He also backed the wrong horse in 2008 when Atlanta shipped him to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. Hossa helped the Penguins reach the finals only to watch the Red Wings hoist the Cup.

Hossa has endured nearly as much personal Stanley Cup heartbreak as long suffering Blackhawks fans who are hoping their team can finally end a 49-year championship drought - the longest in the NHL.

The Slovakian says he does not like to dwell in the past but has learned from those bitter experiences and is better prepared now for the final push.

Certainly Hossa has seemed like a man on a mission in the opening two games of the finals.

After going nine games without a goal, Hossa has elevated his play in the finals.

He was the best player on the ice in Chicago's wild 6-5 Game One win and broke out of his scoring slump on Monday, notching the opening goal in tight 2-1 Game Two victory.

"It's been a long time. I just try to work hard.

"It was a garbage goal I scored but I was looking for some ugly goal like that to get the offense going.

"Our line creates a lot of chances but we weren't able to capitalize on the good chances.

"Finally, it seems we got lucky bounces."

A Stanley Cup tradition allows each member of the winning team to spend a day with the celebrated trophy but Hossa and his team mates insist they are not looking beyond Game Three on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

The Flyers have demonstrated they are most dangerous when backed into a corner and will not panic being down 2-0.

They needed a shootout victory over the New York Rangers in the final game of the regular season just to get into the playoffs and later became just the third team to erase a 3-0 series deficit, rallying to eliminate the Boston Bruins in the Eastern conference semi-finals.

"We're going into their building, it's going to be really important how we start out Game Three," said Hossa. "That's going to be one of the most important games we play this year.

"It's really great for the confidence and really good for momentum.

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)