Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hawks fly into Pittsburgh

By: MF,

Tonight begins the first of a home-and-home, back-to-back affair as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins started off 2016 with a dominant 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. They seem to be clicking and meshing well under Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS). The Chicago Blackhawks are a dangerous team that is never down for the count. The Penguins will have to always keep defense in mind, even for the forwards. A key role for the forwards will be to pick up the trailing Hawk players off the rush. The entire team has to work together and play smart hockey. Also, the Penguins will have to shut down Patrick Kane. If they can limit his chances and shots, that will be a huge blow to the Blackhawks.

Up front, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin have been lighting the lamp. They are leading the Metropolitan Division since December 1st. Malkin sits in first with 15 points (seven goals and eight assists), and Crosby is right behind him with 14 points (six goals and eight assists). Crosby leads the NHL in goals since December 26th with five. He has been on fire, and it is great to see him getting some points. In addition, Matt Cullen has earned four points (one goal and three assists) in his last six games. 

As for the defense, Kris Letang was named the National Hockey League (NHL) 3rd Star of the Week. He has two goals, four assists, and six points over the last two games. He ranks sixth among NHL defensemen with .76 points per game. He plays a critical role, and it shows in the team performance. With Letang in the lineup, the Penguins are 18-8-3 and 1-7-1 without him.

The team has been on it as they have compiled a record of 4-1-1 in their last six games. When it comes to the Blackhawks, the Penguins are 7-0-4 in their last 11 home games against them.

The Penguins will have to stay focused and play smart tonight to get the win. They cannot let up on the Blackhawks and have to keep hammering their goal. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz - Crosby - Perron
Cullen - Malkin - Kessel 
Sheary - Bonino - Hornqvist
Poter - Fehr - Plotnikov

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Cole - Daley

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
Pens 2 Blackhawks 3 OT

The Blackhawks get the 3-2 win in overtime. The Pens worked hard to the last minute, but couldn't get the win. It was a good game by the Pens, but in the end the Blackhawks got it. On the bright side, the Pens come out with a point.

1:13 - Panarin Scores. He fires a rocket past Fleury. 3-2 Blackhawks

1:27 - Kessel and Kane battle. The Pens are able to get it away.

2:01 - Battle of the goalies is going on right now!

3:16 - Hossa gets in one-on-one, but Fleury shuts the door in his face!

3:31 - Malkin, Kessel, and Dumoulin crash the net. Crawford with the saves.

4:13 - Fleury makes two amazing saves!

4:27 - Letang is robbed!

5:00 - Overtime has started!

3rd Period
0:00 - We are headed to overtime!

2:50 - LETANG SCORES! Crosby wins the faceoff back to Letang! Letang fires from the boards and puts it past Crawford! Things are tied up at two!

3:24 - Crawford robs Malkin!

5:27 - Fleury makes a quick pad save and Cole clears the rebound.

6:03 - Malkin steals the puck and enters the offensive zone. He holds, but for too long as he is unable to get the shot off.

9:56 - Crosby sets up Kunitz who fires a hard shot, but just misses the net!

11:13 - Kessel rings a shot off the goal post!

13:47 - Crosby comes flying into the offensive zone and gets in the same area as his goal. He rips a backhander to the same blocker area, beats Crawford again, but it rings off the goal post!

14:06 - CROSBY SCORES! Letang brings up puck up ice and passes to Perron, who enters the zone! Perron drops the puck back to Crosby! Crosby rifles one past the blocker of Crawford! 2-1 Hawks

17:32 - Maatta fires one down low and Letang jams at the puck, but Crawford is ready.

20:00 - Third period is underway! The Pens need to get a goal early to start and keep hammering Crawford! Come on Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - The second period horn sounds and the Blackhawks have the 2-0 lead over the Pens.

1:14 - Seabrook Scores. Seabrook fires from the blue line and the puck bounces off either Toews or Dumoulin (maybe both) in front. It trickles over the goal line. 2-0 Blackhawks

2:51 - Letang blast a shot from the point, but it hits someone in front.

3:57 - The Pens are moving the puck well and getting looks at the net, but Crawford is a solid goaltender. It won't be easy for the Pens, but they need to get to the dirty areas and create traffic.

6:08 - Letang is set free. Good kill by the Pens.

6:46 - The Blackhawks now have a power play for 38 seconds.

8:08 - So much for that power play as Letang is called for interference. Some 4 on 4 hockey for 1:22.

8:46 - Now the Pens are going to head onto the power play as Seabrook is called for holding.

11:13 - Panairn Scores. Kane and Panairn get a 2 on 1 chance. Kane enters the zone and freezes everyone. He goes to Panairn who puts one past Fleury. Fleury got most of the puck, but not all. 1-0 Blackhawks

11:44 - The first line of Kunitz-Crosby-Perron is playing hard. They get some great offensive zone time. Kunitz and Perron both get great chances, but can't capitalize!

14:22 - Crosby and Kunitz pressure, resulting in a Hawks turnover in the offensive zone. Crosby pass to Perron, but he can't get a handle on the puck.

15:55 - Fleury makes a solid pad save and kicks the rebound to the corner. The Pens start up ice.

18:58 - Perron gets a one-on-one with Crawford and tries to go over the glove, but misses the net!

20:00 - Time for the second period! The Pens need to keep getting shots on net and traffic in front of Crawford! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - We are scoreless after the first.

2:00 - The puck is turned over in front and the Pens get lucky as the puck stays out of the net.

2:35 - Great kill by the Pens as Letang is set free.

4:35 - Hawks get the first power play as Letang sits for hooking.

4:53 - Fleury makes a huge save on Toews' shot. He has been solid to start.

5:21 - Hornqvist gets a chance up front, but is denied.

9:52 - Crosby drives center, while Kunitz brings the puck up the wing. Kunitz tries to make a pass to Perron, who has a wide open net. However, the Hawks break up the play.

12:06 - Both teams have had some good looks on net. The Pens have look really good, just can't get plays finished or past Crawford.

15:42 - The Pens get some great chances. Crosby picks up the puck and fires. Crawford has been sharp.

18:10 - Good start for the Pens. Nice puck movement.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens need to come out with speed and get on the board early against the Blackhawks! Lets Go Pens!  

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