On paper, a Chicago Blackhawks – Pittsburgh Penguins matinee screams finesse and high-end skill. It’s not to say there was a total deficit in either on Sunday, but Chicago also earned a 2-1 shootout win thanks to “sandpaper” and strong goaltending.
Corey Crawford earned his 23rd win of the season (and fourth in five games) by stopping 36 out of 37 shots.
Marc-Andre Fleury couldn’t overcome some dazzling shootout work from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, but he was strong in regulation, turning aside all but one of the 32 shots he faced.
For teams that rarely see each other, there was a decent amount of bitterness in the air.
Maybe most memorably, Andrew Shaw caught a comically bruised Paul Martin with a big hit at the end of regulation.
There also seemed to be some competitive tension between Toews and Sidney Crosby:
One could argue that the Penguins carried some of the play with a slight shot and possession advantage:
(via Hockey Stats.ca)
The Blackhawks and Penguins largely find themselves where they were entering Sunday. The Penguins remain close – but still behind – the New York Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead while the Blackhawks at least stay in the running for the Central Division crown.
In a way the game captured the two teams as they’re still showing promise, yet they also have some work to do to regain their all-world form.
Normally, if a player’s leaving the penalty box before two minutes are up, it’s because his team allowed a goal. That wasn’t the case with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are Sunday.
It appeared as if Crosby had been whistled for tripping Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya. Crosby was … unhappy.
Officials had a little on-ice meeting following that call and decided to spring Crosby out of the box, erasing the penalty in an unusual moment:
Mike Milbury was among those who believe that the right call was (eventually) made, with Jeremy Roenick going as far to say that he hopes this kind of thing happens more often.
The optics are a little odd, though, especially regarding a polarizing star like Crosby. What do you think, though?
Big moves like David Clarkson’s terrible contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs get a lot of attention, yet there are often under-the-radar signings that are pretty lousy in their own right.
Many were excited when the Nashville Predators added Viktor Stalberg to the mix, but he just hasn’t worked out. He was placed on waivers for the second time in 2015 on Sunday, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
The Predators also reassigned Anthony Bitetto on a busy day for the organization.
In other waiver news, the New York Islanders moved bruising defenseman Matt Carkner from IR to waivers.
The last bit of minor news is that the Dallas Stars sent Travis Morin to the AHL on Sunday, the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika reports.