Blackhawks Cruise To Big Win In Pittsburgh

After a disgusting 7-0 loss against Florida was followed by an ugly three-goal-lead-blowing loss in Tampa, the Hawks looked to rebound in Pittsburgh against the defending champion Penguins. Ryan Hartman was let out of the doghouse, and Corey Crawford was back in net.

Fans wanted a strong showing early, and got it.

Patrick Kane did a Patrick Kane thing and Artemi Panarin got the Hawks on the board at 3:23 into the first.

With the Hawks’ top offensive line scoring first, the line of Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik got into the act 11 minutes later.

If Kane hadn’t provided enough highlight reel material earlier in the period, his set-up of Marcus Kruger to extend the Hawks’ lead to three inside the final minute of the period was just silly.

The Hawks have been haunted by goals in the final minute of periods all season, so scoring one with 55 seconds left in the first was nice. But scoring twice in the final minute of a period? Surely you can’t be serious!

Marian Hossa was serious… and…. nevermind.

Hossa’s 25th of the season is the 524th of his Hall of Fame career, tying him on the NHL’s all-time list with Brian Trottier.

The Hawks were terrible at the dot in the first period, but carried a 4-goal lead and a 16-10 shot advantage into the second.

Fans also wanted to see the Blackhawks get a lead and hold onto it. Would the Hawks hang on in Pittsburgh?

Marc-Andre Fleury stayed between the pipes for Pittsburgh when the teams came out to start the second period, and survived 11 more Chicago shots to escape the second still chasing four goals. After 40 fast minutes, Chicago had a 27-22 shot advantage and Crawford was perfect in net.

Chicago opened the third period playing strong defense, and Tanner Kero was rewarded for his shot blocking with a breakaway goal.

Kero’s sixth of the year came unassisted and pushed the lead to five. His goal also meant everyone on that line – Kero, Kane and Panarin – had two points on the evening.

Fleury stayed in the game.

After the Kero goal Pittsburgh started throwing their weight around more, and it led to the end of Crawford’s shutout bid. Bryan Rust scored his 13th of the season at 5:46 into the third.

The lead would stay at four the rest of the way, and the Hawks would – at least for the night – appear to be back on track.

Kane’s two points push him that many ahead of Sidney Crosby in the scoring race in the NHL.

Pittsburgh, playing without a significant number of key players, was short-handed four times in the game. Crosby skated 10 seconds on penalty kill.

Crawford had a fabulous night, stopping 31 of 32.

Chicago’s rookie forwards had another strong night.

Kero had one goal, one assist, five shots on goal, two blocked shots, one hit and one takeaway to lead the effort. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. John Hayden led the Hawks with six shots on net and was also credited with a team-leading three hits in 10:35. Hartman had an assist, three shots on goal and one takeaway in 16:59. And Schmaltz picked up one assist, two takeaways and one hit in the victory.

After the game, Hayden had to sit down for the post-game interview with Pierre McGuire.

20 thoughts on “Blackhawks Cruise To Big Win In Pittsburgh

  1. I guess the East isn’t too tough after all, LOL. In the Blackhawks dressing room beats the heart of a CHAMPION!

  2. The Kane pass to Kruger was AB SURD. I thought it must have been a lucky miscue, but no, he never breaks stride, he’s off to the races after his no look backward re-direct skating the opposite direction.

  3. You know its your night when Kruger scores a goal and the opposing goalie isn’t sitting on the bench.

    But seriously, what’s not to like about this game? Best 60 minute effort I can recall in quite a while. Granted Pittsburgh is missing some very good players but so was Tampa, so it’s not so much about beating an elite team with their full lineup as it is about the Hawks playing with focus and energy for 60 minutes. They did that tonight and it was a joy to watch.

  4. Nice pace… albeit versus a team missing a lot of starters…

    I liked the pace of the 4th line- too… Hayden/Moose/Jurco… Jurco really goes to the net hard…

    Crow was way better than last outing… Only lost the net once this game… and it turned into a goal…

    Bad- Seabrook’s speed (or lack of) is becoming a big concern to me… is he hurt or just aging badly???

  5. Pure pass the whole way, only lucky on Krugs might have been shooting far pad and goalie didn’t play/short cut the pass.

    Beauty playing, eh. Need to keep working on full 60 team game.

  6. A really nice rebound game. Kane is one of only 2 or 3 players that it’s a real must to ‘pay’ to see him do his thing live.
    Wall agree with 7’s game-re watch their only goal–he can’t do those many things wrong again if he tried. I love the guy but he looks lost (a lot) lately.

  7. Great game from Kero. The kid just keeps improving and fits in well no matter what line he is on. Tampa Bay looked much better the other night than Wilkes-Barre/Pittsburgh did tonight. If Tampa can get the last spot and gets Stamkos back they would be a tough matchup.

  8. Tab – thank you for the summary…top notch as usual (“points for style).

    Wall, “Bad- Seabrook’s speed (or lack of) is becoming a big concern to me… is he hurt or just aging badly???” — GOOD question! I don’t know. But, it seems to be perfectly “acceptable” that he (TOO often, in my opinion) slips into sleepwalking-zombie-who-appears-to-not-quite-give-a-shit mode, and that’s OK because he will/**might** turn-it-on (that famous “flip the switch” thing) for the post season – why is that? Anyone?

    MORE IMPORTANT: “But seriously, what’s not to like about this game? Best 60 minute effort I can recall in quite a while.” (- Ebonyraptor) — Agree. Let’s hope this trend continues! GO HAWKS!!

  9. Excellent lineup against the Pens. When Anisimov comes back stick him back at 2c, drop Kero to 3c and Kruger to 4c and you have four effective lines.

  10. MS- agreed on Kero,,, guy does a lot of good things/smart/hard working… does very few “wrong” things… swiss-army knife guy.

  11. Erie through easily to 2nd round-Strome, D-Cat and Raddysh 35 points in 4 games. #12 has 4 more assists last night.
    Must win for London tonight against Windsor? as I don’t see Windsor losing 3 straight.

  12. Fun game last night! Was this a Hawks team wounded from looking bad in Florida over the weekend? Or was this a team focused on playing a better foe? Or was this a Pitts team banged up and not ready for the Hawks? It’s hard to tell although last night this team look unbeatable. Personally, I’m hoping this was a Hawks team that rose up to play a quality team. Fun game go Hawks!

  13. Hawks had some serious jump in the skates last night against a fast Pens team. They played 3 strong periods and really stuck to the team game. Crisp passing and back check was very good. I recall Hayden really busting his ass back on one play to catch and defend a Pens player going hard to the net. The kid gets it. Certainly ALL the Hawks rookies have fully bought into Q’s system and know their responsibilities. Hartman back in the lineup helped greatly.

    Kane was phenomenal last night on the national stage. Hawks core guys were very good as well they should be when a big game is on the line. Seabs is no speedster lately, but is still a very smart player and an important piece to the puzzle.

    Jackets tomorrow will be another good test with Bruins right behind on Sunday. Should be some good hockey to watch!

    I like what this Hawks team can bring when they really buckle down and play their game. They are a formidable opponent that if healthy can get us into some warm Chicago weather hockey at the UC.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  14. Phil – I replayed that Hayden Play few times… yes- he gets it!!!

    also liked Jurco- tackling Crosby by Hawk net… Jurco gets it too… Hope he finds it on O side… plays hard… but is more “Kopecky” like so far… Crosby was pissed at Jurco… cross-checked him a few times after the tackle

  15. I’m a reactionary, I admit it, that is, as a Hawks fan. My emotions run unchecked during and immediately after a Hawks game. When they play well, like last night, the world is a wonderfully rosey place, when they don’t, I pick at the carcass like a ravenous raven on road kill.

    But a good nights sleep helps to put it all in proper perspective.

    The Hawks played well last night but it was against a depleted Pens team who were playing without three of their top-4 d-men and four of their top-9 forwards. That’s not to take away from the way the Hawks played last night because they still controlled what they could control and that was the focus and energy they played with.

    The game tomorrow night against a fully healthy Columbus will be a better test of whether the Hawks recent falloff in play is in the past or still an issue.

  16. @ EBONYRAPTOR

    Columbus IMO is no different than Dallas of last year or Colorado the year before. The NHL is littered with teams that are one hit wonders, and have a charmed season. Everything is falling right for the Jackets. Starting with their goaltending. Last year Bob was borderline awful and for most of the yr was a sub 900 goalie. This year 935 SA% & 41 wins.

    Anyways if I’m a skeptic of the BJs I’m sure the Hawks are as well. This game will likely mean more to the BJs who have been getting owned by the Hawks for nearly a decade. Nobody respects or fears Columbus, heck I can’t ever type it without laughing. That’s why almost ever year there is some middling team that overachieves because they sneak up on everyone. Ladies and Gentleman your 2017 Columbus BJs! If the Hawks win by 7 or lose by 7 meh. One more thing Bob’s playoff numbers to date 2 wins 6 loses 3.50 GAA & 890 SA% Talk to me when they beat the Pens in April.

  17. @SSHM – Columbus may or may not be a one hit wonder but that doesn’t matter in the game tomorrow because they have been playing very well and beating lots of teams and Bob has been playing like the odds on favorite to win the Vezina. Dallas and Colorado in their one hit wonder seasons couldn’t get it done in the playoffs and possibly Columbus will share that fate, but like Dallas and Colorado in the regular season, Columbus is a load and a better test than the hobbled Pens we saw last night.

  18. Kruger scored a non-empty net goal, I thought that was someone else that scored that pretty goal. Way to go Kruger! I hope Las Vegas GM and staff took note of that — grab him in the summer after the parade please.

    Agree 1961 re: playoff forwards.

  19. Yea, COL then DAL then CLB and even TAM. Those teams started 30-10 in 1st 40 games after being decent team before. Its the yr after they always donot do as well because everybodys playing a harder game against them. After seeing what happened to COL I knew DAL would not do as good, they actually were good the yr before COL/not 30-10 though, as for CLB they prob do better then those teams did because there younger guys but same kind of thing. Even TAM hasn’t done good since they became good in 2015 playoffs because everybodys playing a harder game against them/didn’t think they would do that shitty though. They can be good but there not going to be able to keep everybody and when there not as deep are they as good as they were.

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