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RECAP: Penguins Can’t Crack Crawford, Lose 2-1

The Penguins were looking for their third straight win by trying to erase the memories of the loss to Chicago from last month.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


The Penguins (11-7-3) met the Chicago Blackhawks (9-8-2) for the second time this season. The big talking point of this game was how the Penguins would rebound from the 10-1 drubbing they received earlier in the year from Chicago.

With the Penguins’ motivations clear, they rolled with this lineup:

Nice to have Matt Hunwick back in the lineup after dealing with his concussion.

The Blackhawks looked like this:

1st Period

Matt Murray stood tall with only 1:07 into the game by denying Nick Schmaltz on a big breakaway to keep it scoreless.

With 13:44 left, play was stopped, but Richard Panik proceeded to take a late shot at Murray. Kris Letang would have none of it, trying to stick up for his teammate. Panik and Letang were given matching roughing minors for some early 4-on-4.

Letang was promptly sent back into the box for delay of game at the halfway point of the period. The penalty was successfully killed.

Penguins and penalties... a familiar theme. Matt Murray was called for a tripping penalty, one in which Conor Sheary served. Murray would proceed to give up the first goal of the game off the face-off. Gustav Forsling was the goalscorer.

Bryan Rust drew a holding penalty with 1:43 left in the first. Jan Rutta was the guilty party. The Penguins created a few chances, but time was against them and the horn would sound to end the period.

Here are the numbers through one:

2nd Period

With a few seconds of carryover PP time, the Penguins couldn't convert and the Blackhawks maintained their one-goal lead.

The Penguins came out with more fire and many more shots in this period, but Corey Crawford was ready for the onslaught.

Evgeni Malkin was called for goalie interference with 11:17 left in the period. Malkin looked to have kneed Crawford in the head and Crawford was forced out of the game. Anton Forsberg came on in relief of the injured net minder. The penalty was also killed.

After a brief absence due to concussion protocol, Crawford retuned to the crease.

At 17:56, Chicago’s John Hayden was sent off for interference and the Penguins tried to erase the lead before the end of the period. The penalty was killed and the period ended four seconds later.

The stats after two:

3rd Period

Nearly three minutes into the period, Bryan Rust hauled down Patrick Kane and was sent off for holding. This was Chicago’s fourth time on the man advantage. The Penguin penalty-killers eventually did their job.

After that penalty was killed, hooking was called on Patrick Sharp, giving Pittsburgh another power-play. With 21 seconds of PP time left, Kris Letang was sent off for interfering with Artem Anisimov. This was Letang’s third penalty of the night.

SHORTY ALERT! Riley Sheahan worked the puck up the ice, gave Matt Hunwick an amazing pass, and with the help of Duncan Keith’s stick, the Penguins found some life to tie the game at 1.

21 seconds later, Chicago regained the lead with a power-play goal from Anisimov.

Jake Guentzel looked to have tied it up with 8:27 left, but Olli Maatta clearly bumped into Crawford while still in the blue paint. Maatta didn’t realize how close he was in relation to Crawford’s position and the Penguins were left to fight on with no goal.

The Penguins fought against the clock for the remainder of the period, and even with the 6-on-5 advantage, couldn't find the equalizer.

They would drop this one by a score of 2-1.

Final Thoughts

  • Corey Crawford has been the Hawks’ saving grace all season and he was that again tonight. He was simply marvelous to watch in net.
  • Murray was fantastic as well, making many ten bell saves to keep it close.
  • Matt Hunwick looked pretty solid for this being his first game since October.
  • The Penguins were deserving of at least a point tonight, but Corey Crawford kept the door shut.
  • The Pens will get a nice break before resuming play next Wednesday when they face the Canucks at home.