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Penguins – Blackhawks Fallout

In a back-to-back situation, the Penguins played a good road hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I thought we competed hard. I really liked our compete on the puck, liked our zone time,” head coach Mike Sullivan said…..”We’re not going to play a perfect game [every night]. Thought we had some heightened intensity. Our compete level was really good.”

Pittsburgh outshot Chicago 37-29, were +10 in 5 v 5 shots, +13 in 5 v 5 shot attempts (64-51) and the Penguins were +7 (17/10) in high danger scoring chances.

Pittsburgh’s top lines created chances and zone time, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each with four 5 v 5 shots, Crosby team-high seven attempts, Evgeni Malkin while a minus-3 in the loss, had a Shot Attempts For Percentage of 58%, Phil Kessel 70% (16/7).

An interesting development in the game, at even strength Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel played with each for just over three minutes and were on the ice for 8 shot attempts, 1 against, creating a couple prime scoring chances when Sullivan tinkered with the lines for a shift here and there, and had Cullen – Crosby – Kessel out together.

There’s no plans to play Crosby/Kessel much more than a couple minutes but it’s something the coaches should explore a bit more in games like that.

Marc Andre Fleury was good in the loss but not good enough. Scott Darling was better and was the difference in the game.

Darling faced a heavier dose of shots and most notably more high danger opportunities.

Fleury was better than his .893 save percentage would say but the Blackhawks scored on three high danger opportunities, Pittsburgh scored on just one.

That’s where the game was won.

I felt like Fleury’s performance last night summed up his career. It felt like a good performance and it was, but not good enough when this is a results business and then you look at the save percentage below .900 and the high danger save percentage being below 75%.

You had a number of sparkling saves, even some wow moments, then some tricky moments, like the poor angle Fleury took from a long range Richard Panik slap shot down the left side (similar to the Connor Murphy goal a few weeks ago) that hit the post and would have put the game out of hand before Kane put the Hawks up 3-1.

For the Penguins, if there’s any disappointment it’s coming out of this two game road trip with no points as they played the percentages in a back-to-back situation, starting Murray vs Dallas, Fleury vs Chicago.

The Penguins were not good Tuesday night vs Dallas. Matt Murray was on track to steal the Penguins one until he had a rare implosion in the third period.

[Pens thought they were closer to getting Hanzal than Shattenkirk]
[Guentzel was off limits to Avs]
[NHL execs believe Pens will shop Hagelin this summer]

— IF the Penguins would have been able to pull off a trade for Martin Hanzal, how would have the lineup had shaken out? A source close to the situation says the preliminary plan Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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