The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday evening at Soldier Field. Next up, the Blackhawks will take on the Colorado Avalanche in their first game at the United Center since Sunday, January 26.
It was an amazing atmosphere as the fifth game of the NHL’s stadium series took place under the lights at Soldier Field. The ice wasn’t the greatest as the puck was constantly slowed by the ice. But after a long struggle in the first period, the Blackhawks were able to get on the board when Jonathan Toews from behind the net found Patrick Sharp in the right faceoff circle. Sharp one timed the puck just inside the far post and crossbar to give the Blackhawks the lead at 15:35.
The second period would feature the Blackhawks continuing the assault as they dominated for long stretches of the period. It would be Toews who would strike as he stole the puck in the neutral zone. Toews undressed Brooks Orpik and slid the puck between the legs of Marc Andre-Fleury at 10:47. Not much longer, the Blackhawks would strike again as Patrick Kane threaded a beautiful pass across the slot to Kris Versteeg for an easy tap-in goal at 16:43. The goal was the 100th in the career for Versteeg who is the only NHL player in history to score a goal in the United Center, Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.
Things were going so well for the Blackhawks that they scored in their own net. After receiving a puck in front of his net, Seabrook shot it directly into his goal to put the Penguins on the scoreboard. James Neal was credited with his 22nd goal of the season at 6:21 of the third period. But the Blackhawks would put the game out of reach when Bryan Bickell put home a rebound at 13:57. Toews would put an exclamation point on the game when his shot deflected off of a defenseman and into the net at 17:52.
What it means
The Blackhawks snapped a two game losing streak and have temporarily taken over the top spot in the Central division with 86 points. However, the St. Louis Blues have three games in hand and only trail by two points. The next game will be extremely important as the Blackhawks try to lengthen their lead on the Avalanche for home ice advantage in the first round.
3 stars of the game
3. Patrick Kane- It was a rough last couple of games for Kane in the Olympics. But Kane rebounded back tonight with one assist. This was the first point in three games for Kane who leads the team with 64.
2. Patrick Sharp- Another Olympian who is having a phenomenal season is Sharp. He continued his hot play with one goal and one assist. Sharp was a plus three and recorded five shots on goal. On the season, Sharp leads the team with 29 goals.
1. Jonathan Toews- The captain had another strong game. Toews had two goals and one assist while recording a plus three. He completely undressed the defense on his first goal which was a thing of beauty. Toews led all skaters with a game high seven shots on goal.