Pittsburgh Penguins Dropped by Chicago 2-1 After Star-Studded Shootout


In a marquee matchup of two of the league’s top clubs, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks faced off at the United Center today for what ended up being a close, hard-fought affair.

It took a shootout to decide this one as both teams received phenomenal goaltending from their tenders – Corey Crawford for Chicago and Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh.

The Pens put the pressure on early in the first period, outshooting the Blachkawks 15-8 in the first frame, though they were unable to find the back of the net.

The second period saw the deadlock break as Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson fired a shot from the point that beat a partially-screened Fleury to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

Both teams continued to pressure and trade chances but the score remained 1-0 after 40 minutes.

With Chicago’s defense stifling the Pens’ big names, Pittsburgh’s depth delivered a tying tally four minutes into the third period.

Winger Beau Bennett, who recently returned to the lineup after serving some time in the press box as a healthy scratch, keyed the tying goal – rushing up ice from his own zone and cutting through multiple Hawks defenders before throwing the puck at the net.

Crawford kept the initial shot out, but Pittsburgh’s Nick Spaling followed up on the play and buried the rebound to even things up.

As the clock ticked down on 60 minutes, the two teams remained tied, sending the match to overtime.

Neither team managed much in the extra frame as Pittsburgh and Chicago combined for only four total shots (3-1 in favour of Chicago).

Thus, the two clubs, both brimming with elite, offensively-gifted stars, headed to a shootout.

Pittsburgh’s David Perron stepped up first.

Rushing down on Crawford with speed, Perron faked a shot and then slipped the puck to his backhand before roofing it into the top corner of the cage.

Jonathan Toews answered for Chicago. The Blackhawks’ captain tallied as well, waiting Fleury out before similarly pulling the puck to his backhand and slipping it between the pads of the Pens’ tender.

Pittsburgh sent out their own captain to kick off the second round. Sidney Crosby pushed forward on Crawford with speed, waiting for him to bite, before wiring a backhand shot up off the netminder’s shoulder.

The attempt initially looked lost until the puck floated down and dropped behind Crawford to just barely cross the line as Crosby skated away grinning.

Patrick Kane came over the boards next, and proved again why he’s the top dog when it comes to the shootout.

The pint-sized winger sped towards Fleury and then slowed up, stickhandling with expert quickness before sweeping the puck right, and then left to avoid a poke-check, and then finally slipping it easily by the outstretched pad of Pittsburgh’s tender.

It was a tough act to follow, and one the Pens’ ultimately couldn’t match.

Slick-handed defenseman Kris Letang took the ice next and tried to wait Crawford out before wristing one into the top corner, but he was denied.

With the game on his stick, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp made no mistake with the Blackhawks’ last shot. He pressed in on Fleury with speed, moved the puck to his left and then back to his right and simply put a wrist shot on net that found the twine.

Sharp’s tally gave Chicago a perfect 3-for-3 score in the shootout as the Hawks went to the locker room with the victory.

While Pittsburgh came up short, it won’t be a loss they’ll lose too much sleep over as it seemed to simply be a case of two strong teams battling to the end to win a game that could’ve gone either way.

Chicago got the two points in this one, but the Pens will be just fine with their single point and the confidence that they matched an elite club like Chicago all game long.

The shootout loss takes the Pens’ record to 32-15-9 as they head into another tough contest with the Washington Capitals on Feb. 17th.