On Saturday night we’ll get a rematch of the two most successful franchises of the last decade when the Blackhawks head to Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and the rest of the Penguins.
Pittsburgh’s fortunes changed significantly following that first loss to the Hawks, as the Penguins won seven of their next nine. They’re currently on a two-game winning streak after losing four of five, and maintain a 6-0-1 record at home this season. Kessel leads the way with 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) with Evgeni Malkin (7 goals, 14 assists) and Crosby (6 goals, 10 assists) not too far behind. With the Penguins having Friday off, expect Matt Murray to be in goal, looking to improve on his subpar numbers (2.85 GAA, .906 SA%) through the first month of the season.
Defenseman Olli Maatta was reportedly not feeling well during the morning skate and was called a game-time decision, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey. If he doesn’t skate, Matt Hunwick will likely be the one taking his place in his return from a concussion that had him on injured reserve. In a major upset, that’s the only injury affecting the Pittsburgh lineup at this time.
For Chicago, the lines at the morning skate looked the same as they did during Wednesday’s win against the New York Rangers. Artem Anisimov’s hat trick was the biggest factor in that victory, with some support coming from another strong Alex DeBrincat performance. But too many of the stars are still noticeably absent from the scoresheet, like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Brandon Saad. Pittsburgh’s top scoring trio has been leading its team all season long. It’s high time for Chicago’s triumvirate to do the same.
|F1||Brandan Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik|
|F2||Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Patrick Sharp - Ryan Hartman - Alex DeBrincat|
|F4||Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Cody Franson|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta|
|F1||Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov|
|F2||Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde|
|F3||Alex Killhorn - Tyler Johnson - Andrej Sustr|
|F4||Chris Kunitz - JT Brown - Ryan Callahan|
|D1||Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin|
|D2||Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman|
|D3||Braydon Coburn - Dan Girardi|
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Penguins
Start time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh