Jonathan Toews puts four goals in the net (three of which counted)....The Blackhawks threw 45 shots on net. The Penguins blew a two goal lead in the third period. And yet they still got the win...On the road, against a tough team in the NHL's #1 ranked building attendance wise. Without the captain too, at that.
- Hello Chris Kunitz; 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 blocked shots and 4 hits. Kunitz provided a spark tonight, if he plays like this every time he pulls a Penguin jersey over his head, we're all in for a treat. If you didn't know the difference you'd think Kunitz was an old pro with the Pens, definitely not in his first game.
- Kunitz went to the net on several occasions and gave the Penguins something they haven't had since Ryan Malone left....Even if our buddies at Yahoo! called it a "fluke goal" in their recap, when you drive hard to the net and flip it there, good things happen. If that's a fluke, we can't wait to see what happens when Kunitz keeps going to the net with the puck on his stick.
- Jordan Staal, a regular linemate of Kunitz, had perhaps his most inspired game of the season. 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots on goal, 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, 1 takeaway. Staal and Ryan Whitney have been the most valuable trading chips that have rounded the rumor mill, and it's as if the trade of Whitney inspired Staal to step his game up.
- Again Marc-Andre Fleury gave up 4 goals. And going just on that you wouldn't be impressed. But he still made 41 saves and held the Penguins in there. He deserves a lot of props. Do the Penguins go back to him on Sunday? How much is too much? That's a question the coaches have to answer. Can't go to the well too many times and not expect it to come up dry every once in a while.
- Toews disallowed goal appeared to be very close...At first glance I thought it was a valid goal, but the more replays and angles seemed to confirm that his stick was above the crossbar. Obviously he got it back by scoring a clean goal again, and good for him on helmet night.
- Seemingly every Russian's favorite player (that isn't Russian), Patrick Kane had one assist, was a -1 and was generally a non-factor. Ouch?
- Miroslav Satan was demoted to the 4th line to start the night (the first time for that under interim coach Dan Bylsma) but he still got a goal in a tough area (and an assist) in 8:44 of ice-time. Pretty efficient for a scapegoat.
- Maybe you're not as oberservant as me, but after Eric Godard's roughing penalty in the middle of the 2nd period in a 2-2 game, Godard got exactly 0 shifts from there on out and finished with a whooping 1:49 of ice-time. After Ben Eager learned his lesson about fighting Penguins from Mr. Gary last season, who from Chicago is going to act feisty Why even dress Godard in the first place?
- 3 goals in the last 5 games now for Maxime Talbot. He's been fighting through a bunch of injuries (including a broken foot and hand/wrist problem) but perhaps he's able to pitch in now a little bit more than before.
- Not a banner night for the penalty kill, giving up three goals on eight chances. Speaking of, Ruslan Fedotenko had two delay of game penalties. Unacceptable.
- The Blackhawks out shot the Pens 20-4 in the third period. Pittsburgh didn't sit back in a shell or anything, but CHI definitely turned the gas on and was going for the win.
- Evgeni Malkin was almost dormant all night long, and then boom the game winner. That's value. The most value. The most valuable player you could ask for. 10 points over his next closest chaser in the scoring race. If Malkin stays healthy, no doubt he's Mr. Art Ross this season. That's a Pensburgh guarantee, book it.
The Pens are not a better team with Sidney Crosby out of the lineup, but they are somehow now 3-0 when he's been out. Regardless, take the two points and move on to Dallas. Danny B is 4-1-1 and we're clawing ever closer to the playoffs. If I'm Boston, Washington or New Jersey, I'm not happy about the developments from the defending Eastern Conference champions....Especially when you consider that all 3 of those those teams bowed out in the first round of the playoffs last season.