Blackhawks and Penguins indoors face-off
The Blackhawks (42-18-15) are visiting Pittsburgh to face the Penguins (47-22-5), one of the yearly big Stanley Cup contenders. It’s almost the end of the regular season, with all teams having under 10 games to play and playoffs spots being claimed. The Penguins have earned theirs during the week, and at the time this preview was written, the Blackhawks were a point behind clinching a playoff berth themselves.
The last time these two teams faced each other was for the Stadium Series outdoor game in Chicago’s Soldier Field, and the Blackhawks earned 2 points then in a 5-1 victory.
The Blackhawks are still without star forward Patrick Kane, but have plenty of young talent to start in his place with new signing Matt Carey starting in the game against Ottawa, and Teuvo Teravainen playing his 4th game with the Blackhawks since making it to Chicago. Patrick Sharp, leading the team in points and goals, is still producing.
The Penguins have a few notorious players in races for several NHL trophies, as captain Sidney Crosby leads the NHL points race with 97. Forward Evgeni Malkin has got himself out of a post-Olympics scoring slump and has been looking incredibly dangerous. However, the Penguins are still playing without a lot of players, notably D-men Kris Letang and Paul Martin, both injured.
Pittsburgh has one of the best power play units in the league, so a goal for the Blackhawks in this game will be to try and stay out of the penalty box as much as possible, as they have a tendency to take easily avoidable penalties. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill has been steadily getting better compared to the beginning of the season, but it’s still not as strong as it was last season.
In the net, we can expect Corey Crawford for the Blackhawks, and Marc-André Fleury for the Penguins.
The outdoor game between these two teams was wildly entertaining, but the weather helped making it a special watch. These top two teams have earned their playoffs spots and could be on cruising mode for the rest of the regular season.
Game time is 7.30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBCSN and RDS2.