In the second of 3 consecutive Sunday matinee match-ups, the Blackhawks played host to the Pittsburgh Penguins today in a exciting, back-and-forth matchup. The only gripe I have with this one is that it ended in a shootout, because it would've been fun to watch these teams play to the winning goal. Both teams had a good number of scoring chances that they just couldn't capitalize on. The shootout worked in the 'Hawks favor though, as all three shooters scored, and Corey Crawford came up big to pick up the second point, giving them 6 of 8 on this current homestand.
The first period belonged to the Pens, who controlled most of the play and outshot the 'Hawks 14-8. The second was a lot more level, with both teams taking their turns dominating the play. The 'Hawks were able to take the lead on a beautiful strike by Niklas Hjalmarsson from the point, and Chicago took that 1-0 lead into the final period.
The third featured more back-and-forth play, with both teams getting several scoring chances, but only the Pens were able to capitalize. Kyle Cumiskey got beat pretty badly in the corner, and Nic Spalling found the twine to level that game. More excitement ensued throughout the third period and OT, but no one could capitalize, and we went to the skills competition.
David Perron opened for the Pens, beating Corey Crawford with a slick move to the backhand. Jonathan Toews answered, sliding one through the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury. Sidney Crosby then found a little bit of luck, as the puck hit off Crawford's shoulder, then popped up and fell into the net. Then Patrick Kane happened.
That's just not fair.
Crawford then stopped Letang, and Patrick Sharp beat Fleury to win the game. It was a fun game to watch throughout, and the Blackhawks were able to come out on top. Their next game is Wednesday, when they'll host the Detroit Red Wings at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Three stars of the game
3. Marian Hossa
Hossa dominated, as is his wont lately. He led the charge on several strong rushes and generated quite a few scoring chances. He didn't find the back of the net, unfrotunately, but another solid effort from the 36-year old hockey master is always a welcome sight. The NHL needs a break every once in a while anyway.
2. Niklas Hjalmarsson
Hjammer was solid all game long for the Blackhawks. He and Johnny Oduya shut down the Sidney Crosby line for most of the game, and of course there was the bomb of a shot that he had to score the Blackhawks only goal of the day. Good to see #4 getting some offensive benefits for his outstanding defensive play.
1. Corey Crawford
Somewhat lost in the recent storylines of defensive issues, Hossa's dominance, and trade talks has been constantly great play from the Blackhawks netminder. He has turned in great efforts night in and night out, even in that 5-goal game against the Canucks the other day. He has consistently played well and given Chicago chances to win, and that hasn't been noticed as much as it should be of late. Don't worry Crow, we see you, and we appreciate you.