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Penguins/Blackhawks Recap: Valiant Pens earn a point

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The Pittsburgh Penguins survive the last minute scratch of Evgeni Malkin and fight back from a 2-0 hole to tie the game up before ultimately falling 3-2 in a shootout to Chicago.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After last night's game against the state's most vile team, the Penguins wouldn't have the services of Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang, who both missed the game with undisclosed injuries. Being as they were welcoming the always formidable Chicago Blackhawks, this would seem to be a big problem.

That would be the case, with Chicago jumping out to an 2-0 lead after goals from David Runblad and Marian Hossa. It looked like the Pens wouldn't have much for the mighty Blackhawks, but they kept fighting, kept working and showed a lot of character.

Pittsburgh's luck would turn when pucks clicked off sticks and found Zach Sill high in the slot who snapped a puck on the net for his first NHL goal. Later, after a good shift from the newly formed third line of Mark Arcobello , Steve Downie and Marcel Goc , Downie was able to push a puck past Corey Crawford.

But Pittsburgh's good luck would run out. David Perron would make a nice deke and have a wide open net, but lost control before slamming it home. Marc-Andre Fleury would stand tall making a few good games and the game went to overtime and later a shootout.

Shootouts can be like coin flips, and it wasn't to be for the Pens this time. But hey, one point against a really good team while several key players were out? Gotta take it.

  • Some real curious coaching by Mike Johnston, who was jumping at the chance to keep Sidney Crosby away from Jonathan Toews , even at the expense of taking Crosby off the ice for offensive zone draws. Including one with 41 seconds to go in the game. Getting a good matchup is nice, but using that strategy also let's the other team dictate when and how you're going to use your best player.
  • Another too many men penalty for the Pens tonight, after getting stung with one last night too. Sloppy play all around, and another not great sign for the coaches. Need to get that buckled down.
  • Hits were 50-27 Penguins, with all players but Andrew Ebbett and Rob Scuderi getting on the board. Usually a lot of hits means the team doesn't have the puck, but this seems to be reflective of the high level of effort and energy that the Pens showed all night long.
  • 35 shots too, with every skater getting at least one. Was nice to see them make an effort to keep it simple and try to pump pucks on the net.
  • On the other hand, Chicago was a lot more focused with their 26 shots on the night. Pittsburgh native Brandon Saad , for instance had 7 on his own and really was digging for a goal in his hometown. Luckily not this year.
  • Saw more than one respected voice on social media point out this was probably Bortuzzo's best game of the season. 21:39 played, 2 shots on goal, 5 hits and 2 blocked shots officially with lots of game involvement.

All-Star break time.