On the road, with an 11:30 (local time) start, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks played a lot of hockey and didn't have a lot to show for it.
The first goal wasn't scored until the second period, after Jonathan Toews beat Sidney Crosby on a faceoff and the puck found it's way to Niklas Hjalmarsson who took a point shot that eluded Marc-Andre Fleury through a lot of traffic. The Pens looked like they didn't have a lot in the tank, Fleury held them in with a couple of really great saves, including one bad turnover by Rob Scuderi right in front of the net.
Nick Spaling would put the Pens on the board in the first period after a great effort from Beau Bennett. Bennett got the puck through the zone and to the net, Corey Crawford kicked out a rebound and Spaling was Johnny-on-the-spot to flick it to the far post and by Crawford.
From there, no more goals in regulation or overtime, we would go to the shootout. David Perron and Toews traded goals in the first round. Crosby scored a fun goal that ramped off Crawford's chest and in but Patrick Kane met him with that goal later, much like he scored a couple of weeks ago in the other matchup between these two teams. Then Kris Letang failed to score, but Patrick Sharp did and that was the game.
The Pens would only get one point, but to get one point, on the road, in a day game against a really good team? Sometimes you gotta take that and move on. But a few more notes first:
- Bennett was a force in this one. 9 shots on goal in 13:52. He did well to carry the puck through the zone, and was obviously firing at the net whenever he could. It appears the coaches got his attention with all those healthy scratches, as he had to have impressed. Definitely one of the Pens best players all game long.
- The Pens PP went 0-for-2 and hasn't scored a PP goal the whole month of February. This is becoming a real problem. With a goal, they could have broken open what was a tight game. But it never came. It needs to be addressed.
Blake Comeau was relentless on the forecheck and had a team high 6 hits. Unfortunately though, a lot of the reason he was chasing pucks was because Evgeni Malkin went 7 for 21 (33%) in the faceoff circle, putting the 2nd line behind the 8-ball for much of the game.
- Nice night for the 4th line, to me. Maxim Lapierre had 6 hits, Steve Downie fresh off his healthy scratch had 4. True, they played less than 10 minutes a piece, and did not change the course of the game, but at least the Pens have a 4th line now that can play aggressive and not give up anything against.
- In the big scheme of things, 2 games against Chicago and 2 points. That's like 1 win. Not ideal, but we'll take it.
Pens go home and get to rest and wait for the Caps to come to town on Tuesday night for a big time Metro Division clash.