Game Recap: Blackhawks Let Two Goal Lead Slip Against Penguins
By Michael Wagner
The Chicago Blackhawks could not hold onto a two goal lead against the Penguins.
The first game of the back-to-back this weekend seemed like it was all going to plan. Corey Crawford looked solid, the offense looked solid and it appeared as though the Chicago Blackhawks would be able to grab two points in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, as the game unfolded, the Blackhawks offensive chances would dry up. The persistent push for the Penguins would end up forcing the Blackhawks to leave Pittsburgh with only one point.
Coming off a surprising scratch, Dominik Kubalik made it be known early that he should not be taken out of the lineup again, as he would open the scoring by finishing off a nice tic-tac-toe passing play. Kubalik looked to have more jump in his game after that scratch on Thursday night and continued a strong start to his NHL career with 7 points in 16 games, good for fifth on the team in scoring.
Less than two minutes later, the Blackhawks would extend their lead to 2-0 with a deadly snapshot from the surging Patrick Kane, who now has a points in five straight games. Kane, in the post game interview after the Canucks win, seemed to have that motivation he had at the end of last season, where he dragged the Chicago Blackhawks into contention. This earlier spark in Kane could be a huge opportunity to negate the Blackhawks’ early struggles and start piling up the points as we head into the second quarter of the season.
After this goal, the ice unfortunately tilted in the Penguins’ favor as they would possess the heavy load of high quality chances and found the score sheet with four minutes remaining the in the second period. Even with the push from the Pens, the Blackhawks would enter the third with the advantage and would also find the Penguins without star Sidney Crosby, who would be out the rest of the game with a lower body injury.
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Even with Crosby’s injury, the Penguins would find another gear and manufacture an easy tying goal, and eventually, force the game into overtime. In the extra period, the Blackhawks really would dominate the play, but could not capitalize on their high amount of possession. The Chicago Blackhawks would eventually fall to the Penguins in the shootout.
Although the Blackhawks, would exit Pittsburgh with only one point on the first night of the back to back, they are beginning to consistently find more points and will have another opportunity on Sunday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Robin Lehner likely getting the start against the Leafs lowly back up, Michael Hutchinson.
Sunday night will be a major opportunity to give the Blackhawks three points in a back-to-back and continue their slow rise in the standings. Solid efforts against two strong opponents in Vancouver and Pittsburgh is a positive sign, and if that strong play continues against the Maple Leafs on Sunday, this Chicago Blackhawks’ team could, in fact, be finding their way out of the basement soon enough.