Game Preview: Re-energized Chicago Blackhawks to Face Pittsburgh Penguins in Sunday Morning Showdown


Sep 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) checks Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

While you sip your coffee and relax on today’s day of rest, you will have the privilege of doing so while watching the Chicago Blackhawks try to form a winning streak.  This won’t be easy, as the Hawks are welcoming the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins to the United Center.

This will be the 2nd and final matchup of the season between the Hawks and Penguins.  The Hawks won the only previous matchup, on January 21st, just before the All-Star break.  Puck drop is set for 11:30 AM.  Today’s game can be seen on NBC and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.

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

[table id=125 /]

Offensively, the Hawks are a very good team and today they will be trying to score against an also very good Pittsburgh defense.

Defensively, the Hawks are an elite team and will have a tough matchup today, as the Penguins have a very good offensive attack.

On the Power Play, the Hawks have been inconsistent, but overall above average, this season.  Today, they will have to solve the Penguins elite class Penalty Killing unit.

For the Hawks, the Penalty Kill is the best in the league, and today it will face a very good Penguins Power Play.

In the faceoff circle, the Hawks are very good and today they will be taking draws against a Penguins team that has been sub-par in the dot.

In terms of puck-possession, the Hawks are one of the best teams in the league and today they will be fighting for the puck with a Pittsburgh squad that is very good at possessing the puck.

Overall, the Hawks have the slightest of slight advantages.  This should be a good one.

The Penguins are 32-15-8 with 72 points, which is good enough for 2nd in the Metropolitan Division.

Surprise, surprise, Sidney Crosby leads the way with 58 points in 51 games played.  Also above the point-per-game mark is fellow superstar, Evgeni Malkinwho has 53 points in 50 games played.  Malkin missed the previous game against the Hawks, this season.  When talking about Penguins superstars, one cannot leave out Kris Letang.  Letang, when healthy, is one of the biggest blueline scoring threats in the NHL.

In net for the Penguins will be Marc-Andre Fleury.  Fleury has been great this season with a .922 Save Percentage in 43 games played.

The Hawks, having just won in regulation for the first time on the current homestand, are 34-18-4, which is good for 72 points on the season.  They are currently 4 points behind the 2nd place Blues and 10 points behind the 1st place Nashville Predators.

Marian Hossa remains red-hot, as he was able to score a goal in Friday’s victory over the New Jersey Devils.  Hossa now has 7 goals in his last 4 games.  Patrick Kane is currently leading the NHL in points with 63 in 56 games played.  Jonathan Toews scored his first goal in the month of February, on Friday.  Look for that to open the flood-gates, for the captain.  All eyes will be on recent call-up, Ryan Hartman.  The rookie defenseman made a big, physical splash in his first NHL game, on Friday.  We shall see if he is able to perform consistently.

In net for the Hawks will be Corey Crawford.  Crawford has been very good this season with a .920 Save Percentage in 37 games played.

Hopefully, the Hawks can make today a big stepping block in the big picture of a huge winning streak on this homestand.  Pittsburgh is very tough opponent and it won’t be easy.

Enjoy your morning hockey!

Go Hawks!