Preview/Game thread Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins

  

Pittsburgh Penguins (9–6–1) .vs Chicago Blackhawks (5–7–3)

6:00 p.m. CST
PPG Paints Arena
TV/Radio: NBCSN/WGN

Projected starting goaltenders

ChicagoCorey Crawford (2–4–1, .901 save percentage, 3.50 goals-against average)
PittsburghMatt Murray (8–3–1, .914 save percentage, 2.40 goals-against average)

Team statistics

Power play
Chicago (14.6%, 23rd)
Pittsburgh (13.3%, 25th)

Penalty kill
Chicago (80.0%, 19th)
Pittsburgh (86.8%, fourth)

Shots for/against
Chicago
-30.5, 21st
-35.8, 30th
Pittsburgh
-34.7, fourth
-29.1, third

Shooting percentage
Chicago (6.18%, 30th)
Pittsburgh (8.95%, 12th)

Face-off percentage
Chicago (48.1%, 25th)
Pittsburgh (50.5%, 11th)

Average height and weight
Chicago — 6-foot-1, 196 pounds
Pittsburgh — 6-foot-1, 193 pounds

Projected lines and pairings

Chicago Blackhawks

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsAlexander Nylander
Alex DeBrincat — Dylan StromePatrick Kane
Dominik KubalikDavid KampfZack Smith
Drake CaggiulaRyan CarpenterAndrew Shaw

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Calvin de HaanBrent Seabrook
Olli Maatta Slater Koekkoek

Pittsburgh Penguins

Alex GalchenyukSidney CrosbyJake Guentzel
Jared McCann Evgeni MalkinBryan Rust
Dominik Simon – Nick BjugstadDominik Kahun
Zach Aston-ReeseTeddy BluegerBrandon Tanev

Brian DumoulinJohn Marino
Marcus PetterssonJustin Schultz
Jack JohnsonJuuso Riikola

Analysis

Following a much needed 5–2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night, the Blackhawks head to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins.  Pittsburgh is coming off a 4–3 overtime win against the New York Islanders, Thursday night.  In the win, the Penguins fell behind 3–0 to the Islanders before screaming back in the third period and scoring four unanswered goals while outshooting New York 39–23 overall.

Chicago also had an exciting Thursday evening.  Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks jumped out to a first period 2–0 lead and scored three more in the third period to beat the Canucks 5–2.  In probably his strongest outing of the season, Crawford made 36 saves.  Patrick Kane (one goal, two assists) and Dylan Strome (three assists) each finished with three points apiece and former Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta had two assists.

The story of the game will rely on the Penguins sitting near the top of the league in shots on goal per game, while also holding opponents to just 29 shots per game. Additionally, the Blackhawks hold a pretty paltry 1–4–1 road record this season while the Penguins are 5–3–1 at the PPG Paints Arena.  Goalie Corey Crawford is 9–1–0 with 1.66 goals-against average and .949 save percentage against the Penguins over his career.  Head Coach Jeremy Colliton stated after the morning skate that rookies Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach will both be taking the night off as per their “development plan.”

Will the Blackhawks continue to be anemic on the road or will they finally break through against a quality (and better) Eastern Conference opponent?

Comment below in our live game thread tonight!

And, be sure to look for the internet’s most robust recap of the game by Ron Luce right here on The-Rink.com.

Center Ice Forums Preview/Game thread Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins

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