RECAP: Blackhawks spoil two goal lead, lose to Penguins 3–2 in shootout

  

After arguably their best game of the season, the Blackhawks returned to action Saturday night in Pittsburgh taking on the Penguins. Saturday night’s contest was the first game of the team’s weekend back-to-back.

The big news with the lineup going into Saturday’s game was Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist being healthy scratches. There was a lot of confusion from Blackhawks fans upon the news. With the two youngsters sitting, the lineup was as follows: 

SaadToewsNylander

DeBrincat StromeKane

Kubalik Kampf Shaw

SmithCarpenterCaggiula

Keith Gustafsson

de HaanSeabrook

KoekkoekMaatta

Crawford

 

First period

The opening frame started with the Penguins generating numerous quality chances. However, Corey Crawford stood tall and looked great once again after a very good game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. 

Crawford not only looked good in net, but he was also not taking anything nonsense from the Penguins. Just after the halfway point of the period, Alex Galchenyuk took a puck to the net and ended up making contact with Crawford. The Blackhawks’ goaltender came up swinging and words were exchanged between a number of players.

The best chance of the period may have been a Brandon Saad shot that caught the post behind Matt Murray. Outside of that, neither team was able to crack the opposing goaltender. 

The Blackhawks and Penguins entered the first intermission tied at zero. There were solid chances for both sides, but neither team could find the back of the net. The Blackhawks showed good energy in the period, but couldn’t translate that energy into results. 

 

Second period

The middle frame proved to be a much better period for the visitors. The Blackhawks were finally able to crack the code against Matt Murray.

Just after the seven-minute mark, Chicago had a three-on-one rush with Brandon Saad, Slater Koekkoek and Dominik Kubalik. Saad carried the puck into the zone before dropping the puck back for Koekkoek. Rather than shooting or passing the puck to Kubalik, Koekkoek returned the pass to Saad, hitting Saad in the skate. The winger kicked the puck to his stick and quickly found Kubalik on the other side of the ice for a beautiful goal. 

Not long after the opening goal, the ‘Hawks struck again. Calvin de Haan deposited the puck to Patrick Kane, who led a two-on-one into the zone with Brandon Saad. Kane held on to the puck the whole way and wired a shot under the left arm of Matt Murray, giving the Blackhawks a 2–0 lead. The goal was Kane’s sixth of the year.

Crawford was continually spectacular throughout the period. However, it is tough to defend a perfect chance when your defenseman turns the puck over. Slater Koekkoek turned a puck over and gave Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel a two-on-one chance. Malkin found Guentzel all alone, wide open in front of Crawford and the Penguins winger buried the pass to cut the ‘Hawks’ lead in half. 

Fortunately, the rest of the period yielded no damage to the Blackhawks and they took their 2–1 lead into the second intermission, looking to put away the Penguins and pick up two critical points in Pittsburgh.

 

Third period

Although the ‘Hawks had the lead, they would ultimately lose that lead. After some good chances for both teams, the Blackhawks failed to clear a puck just after the ten-minute mark of the period. After the Penguins cycled the puck and had some looks at Crawford, defenseman John Marino threw a puck over to a wide-open Bryan Rust for a big game-tying goal. 

Unfortunately, the Blackhawks could not add a third goal and the game ultimately required overtime. Both teams had numerous quality chances, but the goaltenders continued to put together great games for their respective clubs. 

The biggest news to note from the third period was the departure of Sidney Crosby. After blocking a shot in the period, Crosby then left the game and did not return. The Penguins were without their captain for the remainder of the game. 

 

Overtime

Overtime was very high paced for both teams. The Blackhawks had great possession during the extra frame, ultimately winning the time of possession battle. However, the Blackhawks could not generate anything and the game was forced into a shootout.

 

Shootout

  • The Penguins’ first shooter was Jake Guentzel, who already had a goal earlier in the game. Guentzel made a sweet move on Crawford and snuck the puck through his five-hole.
  • Jonathan Toews led off the shootout for the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, Toews was denied on his bid and opened the door for the Penguins.
  • Evgeni Malkin shot second for the Penguins and was denied by Crawford. Crawford made an excellent save with his left toe to deny the elite center.
  • Patrick Kane was the Blackhawks’ second shooter, and in typical Kane fashion, snuck the puck blocker side to knot the shootout up at one.
  • Jared McCann was up the third shooter for the Penguins. McCann snapped off a wicked shot to beat Crawford blocker side and give the Pens the 2–1 shootout lead. 

The final third Blackhawks shooter was Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat was denied by Murray, giving the Penguins the shootout victory.

 

Quick hits

  • Energy was good: The energy was solid for the Blackhawks on Saturday night. They played an overall solid game, despite losing a 2–0 lead in the contest. This game is certainly one with a lot of good that the team can build on, so it will be interesting to see how they respond against Toronto.
  • Crow is back?: Corey Crawford was very good once again after his great performance on Thursday night. If the Blackhawks can continue to get that type of goaltending from Crawford, then the Blackhawks may have the best goaltending duo in the league with Lehner and Crawford.
  • Why sit the kids?: A big question mark in this game was sitting Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist. In a game where youth and speed could have been useful, the Blackhawks decided to sit the two young promising stars. I think Blackhawks fans, like myself, would much rather see Boqvist playing defense than Slater Koekkoek, who cost the Blackhawks a goal in this game.

The Blackhawks return home on Sunday to welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to town. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST. As Eddy Olyczk would say, “One of those great six o’clock starts!”

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks spoil two goal lead, lose to Penguins 3–2 in shootout

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  • #15147
    Ron Luce
    Moderator

    After arguably their best game of the season, the Blackhawks returned to action Saturday night in Pittsburgh taking on the Penguins. Saturday night’s
    [To continue reading full article, click here: RECAP: Blackhawks spoil two goal lead, lose to Penguins 3–2 in shootout]

    #15151
    Mister Ricochet
    Participant

    Yep, solid effort by the Hawks.  They won the fancy battle 50.6 to 49.4 CF, FO’s 52 to 48%, hits 35-26, SOG were 31-31 and were close in blocks 14-12……. They were a hungry team and the stats show that.

    Got a text from a buddy during the game, Crawford looks good.  The last two games he’s looked very quick, light on his feet and efficient.  He often overplays pucks but when not in rythem and he’s in rythem right now.

    Which brings me to Lehner. Logical at season’s start Lehner would push Crow and that’s playing out.  If Crow wants the net he’s gonna have to go save to save with a 27 yr old guy playing for a contract that can throw up a .925/.930 SPG over a yr.

    Here’s my point.  The Hawks seem to have the better goalie in net most nights and have enough guys who can score.  D is not their strong suit but with the goaltending why not open the thing up and play track meet hockey instead of focusing the system with the “current” personnel on trying to fix their own end?  ………. Hell even Boqvist would do well in this system and we know Gus does.

    IIRC they played at a 100 point pace after Jan 1 with last yrs personnel in the run and gun system and this yrs personnel is better……….. Today the Hawks are at the bottom of xGF% at 44.61 under the lets fix the Dzone system.  Last yr they were in the middle of the pack at 48.47 with poor goaltending, worse Dman and without Shaw/Carpenter/Kubalik/Nylander.

    I say let er rip and trade chances.

    #15166
    Jeff Osborn
    Keymaster

    I think it just breaks down to them giving up too many shots. They limited the shots on Sunday to the perimeter which is why they were able to win. They need much better shot suppression or it’ll keep biting them in the ass. You cannot expect .940 every single game

    @PuckinHostile on Twitter

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