Hawks prepare for the Pittsburgh Penguins

In an early Sunday matinee the Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last of their two meetings in the regular season this year. The Hawks won the first tilt in a shoot out 3-2 just prior to the all star break. The Hawks took an early two goal lead but the Penguins came back to tie the game and push it to a shoot out.

The Penguins will bring a fast paced run and gun style with them which should be highly entertaining for the fans at the United Center and the national broadcast audience as well.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will both be in the line up this time as the last game Malkin was out with injuries as was Kris Letang. So we will have the battles of the Canadian captains again which is always entertaining. So far the edge has to be given to the Blackhawks Jonathan Toews but this time the Penguins will bring with them their full complement of stars.

The Penguins are coming into the game second in their Metropolitan division while the Blackhawks are still sitting third in the Central division looking to continue to gather as many points as they can in uber competitive western conference. The Penguins are probably locked into a playoff spot whereas the west is still up in the air for all teams so it is more important for the Hawks to garner points.

Ryan Hartman will be in the Blackhawks lineup again and Michal Rozsival will make his return. The Hawks will need to play a tight defensive game as this time the Penguins will have all their offensive weapons. Look for Corey Crawford in nets for the Hawks and Marc- Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

On paper statistically these teams are very close with a slight edge to the Blackhawks. These teams are good tests for each other and could very well end up in the Stanley Cup Final so they are benchmarks for each other. This should be a close high scoring entertaining game so sit back and enjoy arguably the NHL’s best skills on ice.

Who to look out for:

The Pittsburg Penguins leading scorers are the usual high profile names like Sidney Crosby,Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz. The Penguins are never short of fire power so you always need to be aware who is on the ice and where they are.

For the Hawks, Marian Hossa has caught fire and has (7G,1A) in his last four games. Right ahead of him in point on the team are the captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane who is currently leading the NHL in total points and is always a threat.

INJURY REPORT

Blackhawks

Trevor Van Riemsdyk is still recovering but getting closer to returning

Tim Erixon is on a day to day basis with lower body injury.

Penguins

Christian Ehrhoff – on a day to day basis with a concussion

Olli Motta is on IR for the rest of the season with shoulder injury

Pascal Dupuis is on inactive list with chest injury out indefinetly

 

 Where to watch: NBC TV or listen on  WGN radio 720 in chicago