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Blackhawks snap 8-game losing streak with 6-3 win over Penguins

Chicago scored first!

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It took what felt like an eternity, but the Chicago Blackhawks finally snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Penguins on Wednesday at the United Center.

Marcus Kruger scored the game-winning goal less than 4 minutes into the third period, and Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad each added empty-net goals. Toews also had two assists to surpass 700 NHL career points. Corey Crawford made 40 saves in the win.

Bryan Rust scored a hat trick for Pittsburgh, and Casey DeSmith had 23 stops.

Not only did the Blackhawks win, but they didn’t give up the first goal for the first time in 12 games.

Andreas Martinsen screened DeSmith and deflected a Carl Dahlstrom shot into the back of the net with 5:46 left in the first period. Brent Seabrook fired a slap shot past DeSmith with 2:09 left in the first for a 2-0 lead.

Rust got one back for the Penguins before the end of the first. He scored his second of the night less than 6 minutes into the second period, tying the game at 2-2.

Alex DeBrincat gave the Blackhawks the lead again on the power play, lifting a puck past DeSmith on a breakaway at 15:28.

Rust completed his hat trick with 57 seconds left in the second when his shot deflected off Brent Seabrook to tie the game again.

Kruger gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead early into the third off a pass from Martinsen. Toews and Saad then added empty-netters in the final two minutes.

Seabrook passed Bobby Hull for second place in games played for the Blackhawks with 1,037, behind Stan Mikita (1,396).

3 Thoughts

Finally, a win

There were times during this slump where many fans felt as if the Blackhawks seemingly wouldn’t win a game for the foreseeable future. While there’s still a long way to go, it feels good to finally break the slump.

Depth scoring showed up

During this season, the Blackhawks have struggled to get scoring from their depth forwards. At times, it has felt like the top two lines were carrying the team. But Wednesday night, the bottom-six forwards provided the spark to ignite the offense. Kruger and Martinsen each had a goal and an assist.

The defense didn’t play terrible

While two Seabrook turnovers led to goals from Rust, the defense didn’t play completely terrible. Dahlstrom played well in his season debut, and the team cleared a few very dangerous pucks from around Crawford’s crease. Again, there’s a long way to go and a lot to improve, but it’s a step in the right direction.