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Empty Netter Assists - 03-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "No penalty [was called]. I think that hit happens 10 times a game." - Brooks Orpik on his hit which injured Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews.

-The Chicago Sun-Times' recap. “He plays hard, and it’s never easy to play against him. Sometimes the calls are on the edge, but I know him as a fair guy, and that’s how I remember him. Obviously, some calls are tougher than the others, and sometimes he’s on the borderline.” - Blackhawks forward and former Penguin Marian Hossa on Orpik.

-The Chicago Tribune's recap. Toews' injury is not believed to be serious.

-The Associated Press' recap. "I thought this was one of our most physical games of the year. We saw it from the beginning of the game until the end." - Dan Bylsma.

-Highlights:

-Orpik's hit on Toews:

-Referee Ian Walsh wasn't buying anything Sidney Crosby was selling:

-Bylsma has a chat with his team:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Orpik speaks:

-Marc-Andre Fleury speaks:

-Eric Hartzell made 20 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-1 win against the Elmira Jackals.

-Today would've been the 76th birthday of former Penguins forward Bill Hicke. Acquired prior to the 1971-72 season from the California Golden Seals in exchange for cash, Hicke's Penguins' career amounted to 12 games and two goals that season. In November of 1971, he was traded to the Red Wings in exchange for for cash. He passed away, July 18, 2005.

-Happy 49th birthday to the best goaltender in Penguins history (for the time being):

-After the Jump: Ted Nolan gets a job.

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Blackhawks at Penguins - 03-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Anytime the name of Gibsonia native Brandon Saad comes up, Joe Morrow's name usually is brought up in connection. The Penguins selected Morrow, a defenseman, with the 23rd overall pick in the first round. Morrow's eventual fate with the Penguins was being traded to the Stars last season for veteran power forward Brenden Morrow (no relation). Joe Morrow, who is now in the Bruins organization, has yet to play in an NHL game.

-Exactly, 20 picks later, the Blackhawks took Saad, a native of Gibosnia in the second round. To date, Saad has appeared in 120 regular season NHL games and has scored 71 points while also being a contributor to last season Stanley Cup championship team. In his brief career, Saad has played high impact minutes for one of the NHL's best team.

-He sounds just like a player the Penguins could use at the moment. He's a solid body (6-foot-1, 202 pounds) who isn't afraid to attack the net who could fill a second- or third-line role. This season, Saad is on the verge of his first career 20-goal season. (He has 19 goals entering tonight's game). Brandon Saad could sure help the Penguins a lot more in 2013-14 than Joe Morrow is.

-Why didn't Saad get selected by the Penguins or any team drafting before No. 43? Injuries. A groin ailment derailed his 2010-11 season quite a bit with Saginaw of the OHL. Saad tried to fight through the injury that season but that only hurt his game and limited his skating ability. As a result, his draft stock dropped from the first round to the second round league-wide.

-If you want to criticize Ray Shero for drafting Joe Morrow, that's more than fair. The ultimate return on Joe Morrow was a few months of an ill-fitting and worn-out Brenden Morrow. If you want to blame Shero for not drafting Saad, make sure you also levy equal amounts of criticism at the following people as well:

-Senators general manager Bryan Murray.
-Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
-Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.
-Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher.
-Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.
-Ducks general manager Bob Murray.
-Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.
-Blues general manager Doug Armstrong.
-Panthers general manager Dale Tallon.
-Islanders general manager Garth Snow.
-Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
-Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson.
-Predators general manager David Poile.
-Hurriacnes general manager Jim Rutherford.
-And Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

-Those are the general managers who passed over between the Penguins selecting Morrow and Saad going at No. 43.

-Three teams, the Ducks, Blues AND the Blackhawks passed over him twice. The idea is Shero missed an obviously selection at No. 23 with Saad. The reality is 15 other teams - half the league - passed him over, some doing so twice.

-Saad is a popular name to bring up when discussing the Penguins' inability to draft forwards. It's been poor by even the the kindest of assessments. It's a big reason why the Penguins have struggled with replacing injured forwards this season.

-The key for a lot of amateur general managers is that Saad is from Gibsonia. If Saad was from Gatineau, Quebec or Glouchester, Massachusetts, he would not be nearly as popular. While Nicklas Jensen, Rickard Rakell, Tomas Jurco and Boone Jenner are not the equal of of Saad in terms of what they have accomplished in the NHL in their brief careers, they were all selected before him and they all have reached the NHL. Each of them could conceivably help the Penguins at this time. But because they aren't from Mt. Lebanon or Allison Park, no one ever seems to bring their names up.

-Shero and his staff have many failings when it comes to the draft. Failing to select Brandon Saad isn't one of them.

-Some sights around the barn. Said barn:

-The ice:

-Ulf Samuelsson with a "Badger" Bob Johnson patch:

-Kevin Stevens:

-Alexei Alex Kovalev:

-A contribution from a reader:

-Petr Sykora:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There are a lot of Blackhawks fans. This might be the largest horde of invading fans we've ever seen at this building. Kris Versteeg:

-Saad:

-Martin Havlat:

 

 

-Nikolai Khabibulin:

-Jonathan Toews:

-Clark Griswold:

-Duncan Keith:

-Jarkko Ruutu:

-Denis Herron:

-Peter Taglianetti:

-Dave Schultz:

-The recently retired Martin Straka:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins and current Blackhawk Marian Hossa:

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Tanner Glass, Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Sutter, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Simon Despres, Marcel Goc, Evgeni Malkin and the great Joe Vitale.

-The Blackhawks' starters are Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Corey Crawford.

-The Blackhawks' lines in warm ups were:

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrck Sharp - Michal Handzus - Andrew Shaw
Kris Versteeg - Teuvo Teravainen - Peter Regin
Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

-Their scratches are Bryan Bickell, Matt Carey, Jeremy Morin, Michal Rozsival and David Rundblad.

-Jeff Jimerson's effort can't be questioned:

FIRST PERIOD

18:47: Off a poor turnover by Deryk Engelland from his own zone, xx has a chance in tight but can't beat Fleury.

18:15: Maatta's struggles continue. After Seabrook wraps a puck around his end boards to Shaw in the neutral zone, Shaw pushes the puck up the right wing boards, taps it inside Maatta who is lost ont he play and attacks the net on a breakaway. As Niskanen chases to apply pressure, Shaw lifts a wrister off the near post then crashes into Fleury dislodging the net. Maatta owes that post a beer.

17:57: Niskanen whacks a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.

17:43: Neal pushes a puck up the right wing and snaps off a pedestrian wrister to the far side. Crawford punches it out.

17:06: Nick Leddy pumps a slapper from the left point wide to the far side.

16:59: Brookbank pumps a slapper from the right point. Orpik blocks it.

16:15: After Pyatt and Sutter force a turnover along the Chicago end boards, Sutter feeds a pass to Engelland at the right point. Engelland pumps a slapper which Crawford kicks out.

14:58: A wrister by Chris Kunitz is blocked by Kruger.

13:15: Brookbank has another slapper blocked by Orpik.

11:33: Brookbank swipes a wrister from the right circle wide on the near side.

10:49: Off a neutral zone turnover Crosby, Toews lots a backhander from the right wing. Fleury snags it.

10:16: Defense leads to offense. After puck rolls around the Penguins' offensive zone, Bortuzzo settles in the slot and taps a feed to Jokinen in the neutral zone. Jokinen then direct it to Neal at the Chicago blue line. That creates a two-on-one with Bennett against Keith. As Keith slides for a block, Neal snaps off a wrister from the left circle which squeaks through Crawford's gear on the far side. That kind of came out of no where. Jokinen and Bortuzzo get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

9:55: The Penguins double up. Niskanen lugs a puck out from behind his own net and snaps off a stretch pass from his blue line to Stempniak at the Chicago blue line on the right wing. Stempniak hustles his way past Oduya, fights through a stick check and attacks the net. He snaps off a wrister through the five hole of Crawford. That's two leaky goals for Crawford. Niskanen and Kunitz get assists. The "Hey Song" double shifts. Penguins 2-0.

6:46: Oduya tries to push a puck deep on the right wing and mashed to the ice by Craig. Adams. Oof.

6:37: Off a feed by Oduya, Leddy pumps a one-timer from the right point wide to the far side.

6:17: Kruger lifts a wrister from the right circle on net. Fleury holds it out. Kruger and Hossa crash in hoping or a rebound. Fleury holds it out.

5:03: Collecting a rebound behind the Chicago cage. Sutter circles around the net and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Crawford kicks it out.

3:25: Off a feed by Crosby Bennett shuffles a little wrister from the slot. It hits off the right post.

3:10: Megna lifts a wrister from deep on the right wing. Crawford snags it.

3:04: Saad pushes puck deep on the left wing and whips a wrister on net. Fleury steers it away.

1:36: Off a faceoff win by Jokinen in the left circle of the Chicago zone, Bortuzzo cranks a one-timer from the right half wall. Crawford kicks it out with a thud.

0:34: The Blackhawks will get a late penalty as Engelland is nabbed for slashing Versteeg while battling fo ra puck int he right wing corner. It seemed to be a little bit of a weak call. Bortuzzo, Orpik, Adams and xx take the ice.  take the ice.

0:22: Bortuzzo slams Shaw to the ice behind the Penguins' cage. Oof.

0:00: Bortuzzo collects and eats a puck in the Penguins' right wing corner to kill the clock. Shaw comes crashing in to get a little revenge and knocks Bortuzzo off balance. Shawn then gives Bortuzzo a shove to the back. A scrum develops. Officials step in and break it up. No penalties. Penguins 2, Blackhawks 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Blackhawks actually had an overwhelming advantage in terms of play for the first handful of shifts of the game. The Penguins just did a better job of taking advantage of the chances they were afforded.

-Crawford wasn't particularly sharp. Granted, the chances the Penguins scored on were pretty high quality, but a franchise goaltender has to come up with one or both of those saves.

-Beyond getting toasted by Shaw, Maatta looks okay after his healthy scratch Friday.

-We can't say we understand why Deryk Engelland is in the lineup instead of Simon Despres.

-The third line with Sutter, Pyatt and Brian Gibbons had a few decent shifts, especially down low on the end boards.

-The Penguins have an 8-6 lead in shots.

-The Penguins have a 20-15 lead in attempted shots.

-Bennett leads the game with two shots.

-Keith leads the game with 8:32 of ice time.

-Engelland leads the Penguin with 7:27 of ice time.

-The Blackhawks have a 13-10 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).

-Kruger lead the game with two blocked shots.

-We don't even know what to say about this:

SECOND PERIOD

20:00: The Blackhawks will have 1:26 of power-play time on fresh ice to work with. Sutter, Adams, Maatta and Scuderi take the ice.

18:41: Adams steals a puck in the Penguins' zone and chips it down ice to kill off the rest of Engelland's penalty.

17:17: Off a steal by Neal at the Chicago blue line, Jokinen chucks a wrister from the left wing. Crawford snags it.

16:26: After a strong forechecking shift by Bennett, Jokinen whacks a one-timer from a bad angle on the right wing. Crawford fights it off.

15:44: Keith swipes a one-timer from the right point. Fleury eats it up.

14:54: Battling for a puck in the left circle of the Penguins' zone, Sharp clips Crosby in the face with a puck. Crosby sells the penalty. Sharps heads off for high sticking. Niskanen, Crosby, Neal, Jokinen and Kunitz take the ice.

14:44: Crosby chops a slapper from the right half wall. Crawford fights it off.

14:05: Kunitz is shown on the bench in some discomfort. He took a a shot off one of his legs it appears.

12:58: Another penalty for the Blackhawks. Hossa is called for slashing Megna's stick out of his hands in the neutral zone. The Penguins will have a brief two-man advantage for four seconds. Niskanen, Kunitz, Crosby, Neal and Jokinen take the ice.

12:48: Off a feed by Neal, Niskanen cranks a one-timer fro above the right circle. It hits off Niklas Hjalmarsson's stick and deflects out of play.

12:26: Jokinen chucks a wrister on net from the right circle. Crawford eats it up.

12:12: Off a feed from Jokinen, Crosby strokes a one-timer from the right circle. Crawford knocks it dead and smothers.

11:55: A shot/pass by Crosby from the right circle hops off a stick or leg and on net. Crawford fights it off.

10:58: The Hossa minor is killed. The Penguins did a fair job of controlling the puck with those two power plays. The didn't really put many quality shots on net however.

10:16: Teuvo Teravainen races with through the netural zone, gains the offensive zone, veers to the left circle and whips a wrister to the far side. Fleury kicks it out. Teravainen showed some nice wheels there.

10:06: A wrister by Adams from the left wing is snagged by Crawford.

9:07: Brookbank strokes  one-timer from the righ tpoint wide of hte net.

8:50: We have a one-goal game. Taking a pass at center point, Brookbank slides to the left point and cranks a slapper through traffic and into the cage. we're not sure if that hit anything but there were more than few bodies front. Orpik and Shaw were the primary screeners on Fleury. Fleury sort of waves his hands as if to signal he couldn't see the puck. Brookbank gets credit for the goal. Sharp and Leddy get assists. The Penguins. Chicago fans offer what is easily the largest cheer we've ever heard for a visiting team in this building. Penguins 2-1.

8:36: During a television stoppage, Kunitz emerges from the tunnel and circles around the ice a few times to work out whatever issue he has with his leg.

7:43:  off a pretty enacious forecheck by Stempniak, xx fumbles the puck behind his net and allows it to bounce into the slot.

7:10: Off a feed by Crosby, Kunitz chops a one-timer from the left circle. it hits a stick in front a figh ti off. Keith watshes out Stempniak with a hit from behidn and Versteeg skates the rebound out of danger.

6:40: After the Hawks chip the puck down ice into the right Penguins' offensive zone. Orpik LEVELS Toews with a clean hit to Toews' left shoulder. Toews crashes into the boards then the ice. He recovers to his skates and his holding his left arm and makes his way to the bench.

6:30: As the Blackhawks skate offsides, a few Chicago players give Orpik a little bit of grief. Toews eventually heads to the dressing room.

4:58: A half slapper for the right circle by Kunitz is blocked by Hjalmarsson.

4:40: Settling a puck in the high slot, Keith fires a slapper from of the cage.

4:37: Chasing after a rebound in the right wing corner, Niskanen smacks Kruger to the ice. Ouch.

3:47: After icing the puck, the Penguins call timeout to get organized. Attendance is announced as 18,655. It is the team's 323rd consecutive sellout.

2:47: Oduya snaps off a wrister from the right half wall which is blocked.

2:23: A wrister from Bollig at the right point slides in on net. Fleury steers it away.

1:37: Teravainen whips a wrister from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out to the left circle. Versteeg jumps on the rebound and punches it on net. Fleury knocks it dead and smothers it.

0:32: Stealing a puck in the neutral zone, Saad chips it up the right wing and chucks it on net. Fleury snags it.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 2, Blackhawks 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-First things first, there has been no update on Toews.

-The hit in question:

-That was a clean hit. The principal point of contact was Orpik's right elbow/arm with Toews' shoulder. If there was any contact with Toews' head, it was minimal and it was a second point of contact. Additionally, Orpik hit Toews a few moments after Toews released the puck. Finally, Orpik did not leave his feet until after contact was made. Nothing in the play was illegal.

-Oddly, the Blackhawks seemed to get a spark from the hit. They dominated play in the Penguins' zone after that hit.

-The Penguins' power play struggled in that period. It had what was essentially a double-minor to work with and all they could really do was put a few perimeter shots on net.

-The Penguins have a 19-17 lead in shots on net.

-The Penguins have a 40-36 lead in attempted shots.

-Crosby and Neal each lead the game with four shots.

-Teravainen each leads the Blackhawks with three shots.

-Keith leads the game with 17:03 of ice time.

-Crosby leads the Penguins with 14:58.

-The Penguins have a 26-20 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).

-Crosby is 15 for 22 (68 percent).

-Toews is 7 for 9 (76 percent).

-Hjalmarsson and Rob Scuderi each lead the game with three blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: Toews has not returned to the ice.

18:56: Engelland dumps a puck from center ice down to the Chicago zone. Hossa steps up on him and is thumped to the ice for his troubles.

18:00: Toews' night is done:

17:57: Smith and Kruger each have chances in tight but can't beat Fleury who is swarmed by a mass of bodies in his crease.

17:16: Off a neutral zone turnover by the Blackhawks, Glass races up the right wing and releases a wriste on net. Crawford Snags it.

13:36: After a few stagnant minutes, the Penguins get sloppy with the puck in their own zone. It results in Teravainen chopping a loose puck form the slot on net. Fleury kicks it out. Orpik clear the rebound.

12:48: Smith whips a wrister from the left circle low on net. Fleury fights it off.

12:24: Seabrook chops a one-timer from the left circle wide on the near side.

11:57: Seabrook fires a one-timer from above the right circle. Fleury knocks it dead and smothers it.

11:26: Shaw dances his way out of the right wing corner with the puck and lifts s a backhander wide ofhte cage. The Blackahwks are dominating the puck right now.

11:14: Off a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Sharp coasts down the slot and lifts a wrister which Fleury gets a pie of and deflect out of play.

10:17: Dancing around Niskanen in the lef tcircle, Versteeg puts a wrister wide of the cage.

10:11: Smith corrals a puck int he high slot and snaps off a wrister wide of the cage.

8:59: After a dominant shift by Blackhawks, Niskanen skate a puck to the neutral zone and chips it down ice. He is given a Bronx cheer for his effort.

8:49: Scuderi swipes a one-timner from the right point. Crawford snags it.

7:45: Off a little feed from Stempniak, Crosby pushes a puck up the right wing on a partial two-on-one with Kunitz against Hjalmarsson. Crosby snaps off  feed from the right circle. Crawford fights it off with his chest. Crosby jabs at the rebound and Crawford smothers it.

4:51: Game. Set. Match. After Keith the puck over in the neutral zone, Kunitz settles it at the Penguins' right  poitn and chips it up ice for Crosby on the left wing. Crosby leads a two-on-one with Stempniak against Keith. Crosby waits for Keith to slide down and out of the play then lifts a wrister by Crawford's glove on the far side. Defense leading to offense. Kunitz gets the only assist. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-1.

4:09: "M-V-P!" chants rain down.

3:07: Coasting up the right wing, Neal sneaks a shot from deep on the left wing on net. Crawford kicks it out. The puck kicks out to the right half wall where Engelland one-times it on net. Crawford eats it up then gives Gibbons a swipe with his stick for hovering near the crease.

2:41: Off a rush up the left wing, Hossa snaps off a wrister which Fleury kicks out.

1:47: With a faceoff deep in the Penguins' zone, the Blackhawks pull Crawford. 

1:16: Air mail. Maatta settles a puck in the Penguins right circle and taps it up ice to Crosby on the left wing of the neutral zone. Crosby then whips it down ice int the open cage for one of us:

http://old.post-gazette.com/images4/empty_netters_500x85_new.jpg

-Maatta and Bennett get assists. The "Hey Song" double shifts. Penguins 4-1.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Blackhawks 1.

POSTGAME

-First things first, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Jonathan Toews was day-to-day due to an "upper-body" injury. He will be reevaluated tomorrow. Quenneville said it is not believed to be serious.

-Quenneville declined comment on the hit saying he had not seen it as of yet.

-Marian Hossa, Oprik's former teammate, did not fully see the hit either but said of him, "

“[Orpik] is a heavy hitter. That’s his game. It’s never easy to play against him. Sometimes, the calls are on the edge. I know him as a fair guy and that’s how I remember him. Obviously some calls are tougher than the other. Sometimes, he is on the borderline.”

-Patrick Sharp did see the hit and said,"It was a big hit. I didn’t really break it down. I just saw it during the play and you could tell he was trying to hit him hard. He knew who he was hitting. It’s tough when you see your captain get hit like that.”

-Orpik was tight lipped about the hit and said, "No penalty. I think that hit happens 10 times a game."

-Our $0.02 - It was a clean hit. But since it was Brook Orpik hitting superstar Jonathan Toews, everyone had to barf out an opinion.

-If it's Brooks Orpik hitting Jonathan Toews, the story is Orpik hitting Toews. If it's Robert Bortuzzo hitting Jonathan Toews, the story is Jonathan Toews being injured.

-Many, a hit like that brings a "response." More often than not, that "response" comes in the form of fisticuff. The Blackhawks offered a smarter, better response. They played their tails off and nearly tied the game. They had a 15-8 lead in shots on net after that hit. In the handful of minutes in the second period following the hit and the first half of the third period, they dominated the puck in the Penguins' zone. It wasn't until Sidney Crosby's first goal that the Penguins really showed much life after that hit.

-Despite the fairly one-sided score, we can't help but feel the Penguins got a bit lucky tonight. They were dominated for quite a few stretches of play tonight.

-Marc-Andre Fleury's performance will get completely overshadowed, but he was the Penguins' best player tonight. As we said earlier, the Blackhawks dominated the puck in the Penguins' zone and put several shots of varying quality on net. Fleury turned away nearly all of them. the only goal he allowed came on a shot where everything but the sun was screened out. Fleury was the biggest factor in the Penguins' win.

-Crosby and Chris Kunitz continue to develop chemistry with Lee Stempniak. Stempniak scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and even set up Crosby with a nice scoring chance with a chip play off the wall. Crosby was asked about Stempniak the other day and simply said it will take time to get completely on the same page. They appear to be close to finding that page.

-Beau Bennett showed off quite a bit of physicality along the boards and even recorded an assist. So far, so good for Bennett in his return from injury.

-Taylor Pyatt even had a few decent shifts with some physical play. He's had a solid week of games.

-Corey Crawford was not sharp. He needed to not just steal goals but prevent a few fairly pedestrian shots tonight. He did not do that.

 

-The defensive pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook did not have a good game. Seabrook kind of left Keith out to dry on two two-on-one plays which resulted in goals and a turnover by Keith led to a goal as well.

-The Penguins had a 27-26 lead in shots on net.

-The Blackhawks had a 65-46 lead in attempted shots.

-Crosby led the game with eight shots.

-Teuvo Teravainen led the Blackhawks with four shots.

-Keith led the game with 25:07 of ice time.

-Matt Niskanen led the Penguins with 21:59.

-The Penguins had a 36-27 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).

-Crosby was 20 for 29 (69 percent).

-Toews was 7 for 9 (78 percent).

-Niklas Hjalmarsson and Rob Scuderi each led the game with four blocked shots.

-The Penguins' magic number to clinch the division is now two points.

-The Penguins reached the 100-point mark for the ninth time in franchise history.

-Kunitz (277) passed up Dan Quinn (276) for 24th-most career points in franchise history.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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About the Blackhawks - 03-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Blackhawks.

When and where: 7:30 p.m., EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC Sports Network, RDS2.

Record: 42-18-15, 99 points. The Blackhawks are in third place in the Central Division.

Leading Scorer: Patrick Sharp (right), 72 points (31 goals, 41 assists).

Last Game: 5-3 road loss to the Senators, Friday. Antti Raanta made 24 saves for the Blackhawks.

Last Game against the Penguins: 5-1 home win (at Soldier Field), March 1. Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist for the Blackhawks.

Blackhawks Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Marian Hossa. He has 44 points in 40 career games against his former team.

Ex-Penguins on the Blackhawks: Denis Bonvie, professional scout, Scotty Bowman, senior advisor, Marian Hossa, RW; Norm Maciver, assistant general manager; Michal Rozsival, D.

Ex-Blackhawks on the Penguins: Craig Adams, RW; Tom Fitzgerald, assistant to the general manager.

Useless Blackhawks Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Crawford is one of three goaltenders selected in the 2003 draft who have been part of a Stanley Cup winning roster. The others are Marc-Andre Fleury (2009) and Detroit's Jimmy Howard (2008).

(Note: Howard was on the Red Wings' roster in 2008 as a "Black Ace" who was there for practice purposes.)

Best Blackhawks Video We Could Find: Blackhawks center Denis Savard weaving through the Oilers' defense for a dazzling goal in 1987-88:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (35-17-4, 2.35 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Penguins. Corey Crawford (29-14-10, 2.22 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Blackhawks.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Marcel Goc ("lower body"), Evgeni Malkin (foot) and Joe Vitale ("upper body") are out. Right wingers Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Blackhawks, left winger Bryan Bickell ("upper body") and defenseman Michal Rozsival ("lower body") are doubtful. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin ("lower body"/shoulder) and right winger Patrick Kane ("lower body") are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins primary lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 22 Lee Stempniak
19 Beau Bennett - 36 Jussi Jokinen - - 18 James Neal
17 Taylor Pyatt - 16 Brandon Sutter - 49 Brian Gibbons
15 Tanner Glass - 27 Craig Adams - 59 Jayson Megna

3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen
44 Brook Orpik - 41 Robert Bortuzzo
5 Deryk Engelland - 4 Rob Scuderi

The Blackhawks did not hold a full morning skate. Consider this a guess based off their primary lines and defensive pairings against the Senators Friday were:

23 Kris Versteeg - 19 Jonathan Toews - 81 Marian Hossa
10 Patrick Sharp - 26 Michal Handzus - 65 Andrew Shaw
20 Brandon Saad - 86 Teuvo Teravainen- 25 Matt Carey
52 Brandon Bollig - 16 Marcus Kruger - 28 Ben Smith

2 Duncan Keith - 7 Brent Seabrook
4 Niklas Hjalmarsson - 27 Johnny Oduya
8 Nick Leddy - 17 Sheldon Brookbank

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Blackhawks, this happened:

-Adams has 99 career assist.

-Saad, a native of Gibsonia, will be playing his first regular season game in Pittsburgh.

-Our live blog begins at approximately 6:30 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - 03-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The last time the Penguins played the Blackhawks, it was tad snowy and one-sided.

-The Penguins have the Metropolitan Division all but wrapped up ... right?

-As always, Marc-Andre Fleury will be key to any postseason success for the Penguins.

-The Penguins have swept four series of three or more games this season.

-Peter Mannino made 25 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 win against the Norfolk Admirals.

-Highlights:

-Mannino has improved to 7-2-1 with a 1.05 GAA and .950 save percentage in March.

-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins defenseman and assistant coach Randy Hillier (right). Acquired prior to the 1984-85 season in a trade which sent a draft pick to the Bruins, Hillier spent parts of seven seasons with the Penguins as a player. In 1984-85, Hillier appeared in 45 games and scored 21 points. During 1985-86, he was limited to 28 games and three assists. He followed that up in 1986-87 by seeing action in 55 games and  recorded 12 points. In 1987-88, Hillier once against played in 55 games and netted 13 points. Hillier appeared in a career-high 68 games in 1988-89 and scored a career-high 24 points. He saw action in nine postseason games that spring and recorded one assist. In 1989-90, he saw action in 61 games and netted 15 points. During 1990-91, Hillier appeared in 31 games and scored four points. He appeared in eight playoff games that spring and failed to record a point while helping the franchise earn its first Stanley Cup championship. During the 1991 offseason, he joined the Islanders as a free agent. In 343 regular season games with the Penguins, he recorded 92 points, 94th-most in franchise history. In 17 postseason games, he recorded one assist. Hiller returned to the Penguins and served as an assistant coach in the 1997-98 season and once again from 2001 through 2006.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Ty Conklin. A free agent signing in the 2007 offseason, Conklin's Penguins career amounted to 33 games in 2007-08. He went 18-8-5 with a 2.51 goals against average, .923 save percentage and two shutouts. He also served as the team's starting goaltender in the first Winter Classic in 2008. During the 2008 offseason, Conklin, one of 11 NHL players born in Alaska, joined the Red Wings as a free agent. He is currently a goalie development coach with the Blues.

-After the Jump: Jarome Iginla hits 30 goals yet again.

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Sweeping success - 03-29-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

With last night's 2-1 win at Columbus, the Penguins made a little bit of history by sweeping a regular season series of three or more games against an opponent from Ohio for the second time in franchise history.

Okay, that's more more a Trivial Pursuit answer than history.

The victory does set up a chance at matching history however.

In addition to sweeping the Blue Jackets (5-0-0), the Penguins have also swept the Capitals (4-0-0), the Sabres (3-0-0) and the Lightning (3-0-0) this season.

If the Penguins can win Tuesday's home game against the Hurricanes (3-0-0), they will sweep that series too. A win against Carolina would also match a mark of five regular season series sweeps set last season in a lockout-shortened campaign.

To date, the Penguins have swept 36 regular season series of three or more games throughout the history of the franchise:

Team Season Record
Atlanta Thrashers




1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2008-09
2010-11
4-0-0
4-0-0
4-0-0
4-0-0
4-0-0
Boston Bruins

1993-94
2012-13
6-0-0
3-0-0
Buffalo Sabres


2007-08
2010-11
2013-14
4-0-0
4-0-0
3-0-0
*-Cleveland Barons 1977-78 5-0-0
Colorado Rockies
1981-82 3-0-0
Columbus Blue Jackets 2013-14 5-0-0
Detroit Red Wings
1990-91 3-0-0
Hartford Whalers/
Carolina Hurricanes

1982-83
1992-93
1997-98
3-0-0
3-0-0
6-0-0
Florida Panthers 2010-11 4-0-0
Ottawa Senators


1994-95
1995-96
2012-13
4-0-0
6-0-0
3-0-0
Montreal Canadiens 2012-13 3-0-0
Philadelphia Flyers 2006-07 8-0-0
Quebec Nordiques



1981-82
1986-87
1987-88
1990-91

3-0-0
3-0-0
3-0-0
3-0-0

San Jose Sharks
1991-92 3-0-0
Tampa Bay Lightning

2012-13
2013-14
3-0-0
3-0-0
Toronto Maple Leafs
1985-86 3-0-0
Washington Capitals


2006-07
2012-13
2013-14
4-0-0
3-0-0
4-0-0
**-Winnipeg Jets

1979-80
1980-81
4-0-0
4-0-0

*-Defunct franchise.
**-Original Jets franchise.

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