PENALTIES COSTLY FOR BLACKHAWKS VS. PENGUINS
It's well known around the league that the Blackhawks have made an effort to clean up their act since the NFHL returned to action in March. They traded six enforcers (Probert, Samuelsson, Crowder, McSorley, Baumgartner and Grimson) and sent four other players to discipline camps. The head coach has even been pairing his remaining tough guys with skilled players to avoid full line brawls. It has mostly worked, but every so often their old style of hockey shows up. This was the story last night in Pittsburgh.
After stunning Minnesota with 3 shorthanded goals and 1 power play goal in their 4-2 win on Monday night, the Hawks slipped back to their old ways vs. the Penguins. Chicago racked up 95 PIMs in total with 7 players going into double digits in minutes. They led 2-0 going into the 3rd but allowed four goals - two shorthanded - to drop their second game of the year.
"It was a brutal third period," said defenceman Brad Shaw, "they had us pinned back in our own end for minutes at a time. They out shot us badly too. We need to do better, especially at home." Shaw was referring to the 14-5 shot advantage for Pittsburgh in the final period. Chicago ended up ahead in total shots 35-33, but goalie Shawn Burke played an outstanding game for the Pens. Blackhawks starter Arturs Irbe played well but was unable to hold on for the win.
The team took a charter flight to Los Angeles after the game and will take on the Kings tonight. LA is off to a hot start and the Hawks will need to play a more disciplined game if they want to win. The Blackhawks have given their opponents eight power plays in each of the last two games, up from the five Rangers man advantages in the season opener. Michel Dion will get the start after winning his first game in Minnesota on Monday. Defencemen Frank Musil and Dana Murzyn will sit out with injuries.
Blackhawks Game Day Update