By generating a 2-0 lead less than five minutes into Sunday’s game, it looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins would cruise to their ninth consecutive win, ending a run of futility against the Chicago Blackhawks in the process.
Pittsburgh’s losing ways against the Blackhawks ended up continuing instead, as Chicago won 5-3. The Blackhawks have now won 10 straight games against the Penguins.
Patrick Kane dished out three assists in this one, including Alex DeBrincat‘s goal to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-1 in the first period, and Dylan Strome‘s game-winner. There was some great puck movement on that Strome goal:
After former Penguin Chris Kunitz tied things up at 2-2, the Penguins gained another lead after Derick Brassard finished on a great Phil Kessel pass, but that would be the last time Pittsburgh would end up beating Cam Ward in this game. Kane’s playmaking ways paved the way for an impressive milestone:
This loss saw the end of a personal six-game point streak for Sidney Crosby, who went without a goal and an assist after rattling off three goals and 10 assists for 13 points during that span.
The Blackhawks were only credited with going 1-for-3 on the power play, but Duncan Keith‘s goal came mere moments after a man advantage ended. Combine that with Pittsburgh going 0-for-3 (including some 5-on-3 time), and it’s clear that special teams went Chicago’s way.
Keith’s teammates would remind you that he hasn’t scored many goals lately, with that being his first in 2018-19 after scoring only two last season.
The Capitals, Blue Jackets, and Islanders all won their most recent games, so updated versions of various Metro races look quite a bit worse for the Penguins:
1. Capitals: 25-12-4 for 54 points, 41 GP, 22 ROW
2. Penguins: 23-13-6 for 52 points, 42 GP, 22 ROW
3. Blue Jackets: 24-14-3 for 51 points, 41 GP, 24 ROW
4. Islanders: 23-13-4 for 50 points, 40 GP, 21 ROW
It’s tough to imagine the Blackhawks rallying to a spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, yet they’ve been picking up steam lately, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. If nothing else, contending teams shouldn’t look at them as an easy two points when they see the Blackhawks on their schedules.
MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.