If Jordan Staal can play the way he did in the third period Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a much easier time dealing with the absence of Sidney Crosby.
Staal scored the first and last of Pittsburgh's four third-period goals as the Penguins made it two wins in as many tries in the preseason by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at the Consol Energy Center.
Staal tied the game 1:58 into the final period, then capped the scoring when he broke past the defense, cut in from the left and beat Ray Emery.
Matt Cooke put the Penguins ahead to stay with a deflection of Craig Adams' backhander at 10:42, and Tyler Kennedy added some insurance when he beat Emery at 14:14.
"In the first and second (periods), we didn't get a chance to get our momentum going. We turned the puck over a lot," Staal said. "In the third period we stopped doing that and we were able to generate some offense."
It was the first appearance for Cooke since he was suspended for the final 10 games of the 2010-11 regular season and all seven of the Penguins' playoff games.
"Cookie was glad to be back," Staal said of his usual partner in one of the NHL's most effective penalty-killing duos.
The Penguins were without Crosby, who's still sidelined due to the effects of the concussion he suffered last January. The Penguins' other star center, Evgeni Malkin, had the night off after getting two points against Detroit on Wednesday.
The Hawks, playing without captain Jonathan Toews, 2010 Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith and several other regulars, took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period when Michael Frolik snaked through the defense and beat Brent Johnson. But Johnson and backup Scott Munroe, who played the third period, faced only 16 shots.
Hawks rookie Alexander Salak, who played the first half of the game, stopped all eight shots he faced. Emery, his likely rival for the backup role behind Corey Crawford, allowed all four goals on 19 shots.
The most excited Hawk on the ice was rookie Brandon Saad, a Pittsburgh-area native who made his NHL debut after being taken by Chicago in the second round of the Entry Draft in June.
"It was awesome," he said of returning to Pittsburgh. "It's awesome to play in any game in the NHL, but to be back home makes it more exciting."
Though the 18-year-old is the youngest player in the Hawks' camp, Saad has wasted no time making an impression -- he was tops among Chicago's rookies with four goals in three impression -- he was tops among Chicago's rookies with four goals in three games at the recent rookie tournament in Oshawa, Ontario, earlier this month -- earning an invite to the main camp.
"He's had a real nice camp," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've liked him since Day 1 at the prospect camp in the summer, the rookie camp, our main camp and these NHL exhibition games.
Material from team media was used in this report