An offensive outburst has the Chicago Blackhawks back on track. The Pittsburgh Penguins may be stinging from a much different kind of drubbing.
The Blackhawks look to build on one of their best performances of the season Wednesday night by sending the Penguins to a fourth straight defeat before entering the All-Star break.
Chicago (29-15-2) has been inconsistent in going 4-5-0 since New Year’s Day, totaling 19 goals in those victories compared to nine in the defeats.
The Blackhawks had little trouble finding the net Tuesday, scoring the first four goals of a 6-1 romp of Arizona. They scored five in losing the previous two games.
"I felt like we played the right way from the outset," said right wing Patrick Kane, who had one goal and two assists. "Power play started us off, and then we just kind of took off from there."
The Penguins (26-12-7) may feel the same way about the fisticuffs that filled Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Philadelphia. The teams combined for 93 penalty minutes with 66 coming in a second period that included four fights, stemming from a boarding major and game misconduct for Zac Rinaldo’s hit on Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang late in the opening period.
Letang didn’t return after being hit from behind, and his status is unknown while Rinaldo is expected to face a suspension from the NHL.
Despite spending nearly 15 minutes on the power play, Pittsburgh failed to convert on all six opportunities as it lost a third straight game – one shy of its season high set from Dec. 22-29.
"With that many opportunities and the skill we have, we should make them pay for that," captain Sidney Crosby said.
Crosby has 13 points in eight games, but didn’t get any for just the second time over that stretch Tuesday. The star center may benefit from a return home, where he has nine points in five games and scored twice in a 4-1 win over Chicago on March 30.
Evgeni Malkin missed that matchup with a foot injury, but he has six points in five career meetings with the Blackhawks. The center, who has 10 points in his last eight games, will join Crosby and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at Sunday’s All-Star game in Columbus.
Chicago is expected to have five players on the ice Sunday, including captain Jonathan Toews, who will fill the same role on one of the All-Star teams.
He’s riding a season-high six-game point streak, totaling eight while also netting his first goal of that stretch Tuesday to end an 11-game drought.
Toews has six goals and two assists in six games against the Penguins, but didn’t have any points March 30 while Kane was out with a lower-body injury.
Kane – another Blackhawks All-Star – enters this one with a team highs of 22 goals and 51 points, collecting nine in the past six games.
Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen are looking to build on strong efforts from Tuesday. Shaw scored twice after netting one in his previous 22 games. Teravainen, the 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, assisted on one of Shaw’s tallies before scoring one of his own in his first career multipoint game.
"(Teravainen’s pass) was unbelievable," Shaw told the team’s official website of the 20-year-old rookie. "He told me to go to the net and he’d get it to me. He’s a smart player. He’s got a lot of hockey sense and he’s got the skill to go with it."