Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Face Pittsburgh Penguins Before All-Star Break


Mar 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) and Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Craig Adams (27) chase the puck during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, there won’t be any Chicago Blackhawks’ hockey until January 28th, when they take on the Los Angeles Kings.  After last night’s blowout victory over the Arizona Coyotes, a win tonight, on the road, against a good team like the Penguins would send the Hawks into the break on a very good note.

This will be the first matchup of the 2-game season series between the Hawks and Penguins.  Tonight’s game can be seen on NBC-SN and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Penguins.

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Offensively, the Hawks are excellent and will face a very good Penguins defensive game.

Defensively, the Hawks are elite and will be up against an excellent Pittsburgh offensive attack.

On the Power Play, the Hawks have been average, overall, and will have the tough assignment of scoring against a lethal Penguin Penalty Kill.

For the Hawks, on the Penalty Kill, they have been elite all season, but tonight they have the tough task of preventing the extremely dangerous Pittsburgh Power Play.

In the faceoff dot, the Hawks have been great, and will be taking draws against a Penguins team that has been roughly average.

In terms of puck-possession, the Hawks are an elite team, and they will be fighting for the puck against a Pittsburgh team that has been good at possessing the puck.

On paper, the advantage goes to the Hawks, albeit a very slight one.  Both teams played last night, so it could come down to which team can get their legs going first.  The Penguins had less travel, going from Philadelphia, back home to Pittsburgh, while the Hawks have traveled from Chicago to Pittsburgh.  The home-ice advantage and the travel advantage pretty much evens this matchup.  It’s anyone’s guess, but it should be a good game.

The Penguins are currently sporting a 26-12-7 record, which is good for 59 points and 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.  They are 4 points behind the 1st place New York Islanders, only 1 point ahead of the 3rd place New York Rangers and only 2 points ahead of the 4th place Washington Capitals.  Pittsburgh has lost 3 games in a row, all to divisional opponents, and have won only 4 of their last 10 games.

You can’t talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins without talking about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  Both Crosby and Malkin have 51 points on the season, the same as Patrick Kaneas they are all tied for 3rd in the NHL, in points.  Defenseman, Kris Letang will be a game-time decision after suffering an injury, in last night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.  Chris Kunitz has 4 points in his last 5 games, and his goal in last night’s game was his 500th career point.  Before going pointless last night, newly acquired David Perron was on a 5 points in 3 games split and has recorded 7, in his first 7 games with the Penguins.

In net for the Penguins will be Marc-Andre Fleury.  Fleury has been great this season, with a .921 Save Percentage in 36 games played.

The Hawks currently hold a 29-15-2 record, good for 60 points, which is 2 points behind the 2nd place St. Louis Blues and 5 points behind the 1st place Nashville Predators.  

 Apparently, the Hawks’ players only meeting did the trick, as they got back on track in last night’s 6-1 rout of the Arizona Coyotes.  This is especially true for Andrew Shawwho went from being benched in the previous game, to scoring 2 goals in the first period last night.  Patrick Kane just keeps doing it, and last night he scored his 200th career goal.  Jonathan Toews scored last night to end his goalless drought and now has 7 points in his last 5 games.  Despite being held without a point last night, Brandon Saad has 6 points over the last 5 games.  Teuvo Teravainen scored a goal last night, his 2nd of his career and his 2nd in his last 3 games.  Is a hot-streak on its way?

In net for the Hawks will be Corey Crawford.  Crawford has been very good this season with a .920 Save Percentage in 29 games played.

An exciting but tough matchup tonight, for the Hawks, before they head into the All-Star break.  Going into the break on a good note would be fantastic, as the good vibes will be carried with the players as they catch their catch some rest, just before the playoff push.

Go Hawks!