Blackhawks searching for another strong performance against Penguins

If Chicago wants to score 10 goals again, that’d be fine with us.

Remember how great the Chicago Blackhawks’ season opener was? Remember when they scored four goals in 2:55 of the first period? Remember when the Blackhawks won 10-1? Second City Hockey remembers.

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.

Projected Lineups


F1Brandan Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
F2Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
F3Patrick Sharp - Ryan Hartman - Alex DeBrincat
F4Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden
D1Duncan Keith - Cody Franson
D2Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook
D3Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
GoaltenderAnton Forsberg


F1Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
F2Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
F3Alex Killhorn - Tyler Johnson - Andrej Sustr
F4Chris Kunitz - JT Brown - Ryan Callahan
D1Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin
D2Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman
D3Braydon Coburn - Dan Girardi
GoaltenderAndrei Vasilevski

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Start time: 6 p.m. CT

Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh