PITTSBURGH – In a game full of star power, the Chicago Blackhawks' most notable stars shined brightest.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored in a shootout to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.
Following a scoreless overtime when Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa had the best chance to end the game, Toews and Kane scored nearly identical shootout goals by placing wrist shots past Marc-Andre Fleury's blocker. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped David Perron and Sidney Crosby.
"We played smart tonight," Toews said. "We played an offensive team that knows how to create chances, and for the most part we were pretty good in our own end and the penalty kill was good too. It's a good road win, especially with the games we've played in the last five to six days.
"I think it always comes down to one break. If it's a shootout, we have great confidence we have a goaltender that can make stops. We have shooters that want to be in that situation. So I just think we like our odds given the circumstance. We just feel like we're going to be more desperate, we're going to get that extra point."
The Blackhawks (30-15-2) enter the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend on a two-game win streak following two consecutive losses. The Penguins (26-12-8) have lost four consecutive games, which is tied for their longest losing streak of the season.
Pittsburgh lost 3-2 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
"It was disappointing to lose those two games," Fleury said. "But I thought tonight we were a little better. We had some good chances. We missed a few … a post or an open net there. But I thought it was a good game. They're a good team and we had a good battle."
The teams traded chances early in the third period when Perron gained control of the puck after it caromed off the end boards with Crawford out of the net. Perron tucked the puck behind Crawford but slid it wide of the net about five minutes into the period.
Toews had a chance to give the Blackhawks a one-goal lead shortly after when he received a pass from Brandon Saad in front of Fleury, but was denied by a kick save at 6:31.
"When games are tied in the third period, you have to make sure you get points," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You're not as comfortable as you've been, as we've been, in the past years in that situation. We probably played a little tighter, but we found a way to get it done."
The Penguins played without forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang, two of their top three scorers, because of undisclosed injuries, but overcame a two-goal deficit with two unanswered goals in the second period scored by their third and fourth lines.
After Hossa sent a wrist shot through a screen by Bryan Bickell and past Fleury 2:41 into the second to put the Blackhawks up 2-0, forward Zach Sill made it 2-1 with his first NHL goal 2:40 later.
Sill's snap shot went past Crawford glove-side for his second point in 51 NHL games. Forward Andrew Ebbett, who has one goal and five assists this season, assisted on the goal.
Penguins third-line right wing Steve Downie tied the game after defenseman Scott Harrington's slap shot bounced from player to player in the crease before Downie got the rebound and flipped a wrist shot over a fallen Crawford with 7:38 left in the second. Forward Mark Arcobello earned the secondary assist for his first point in four games with Pittsburgh.
Crosby nearly gave the Penguins a one-goal lead entering the third period when he one-timed a pass from Chris Kunitz past Crawford from the faceoff circle, but the puck hit the post with 46.4 seconds left.
The Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead following an evenly played first period.
After a slap shot from Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad went wide, Hossa gained possession and held off Crosby while controlling the puck with one hand on his stick along the blue line. Hossa one-armed a pass to Rundblad, who sent another slap shot into the Penguins crease.
The puck got through a screen by Saad and past Fleury for Rundblad's third goal 6:56 into the first.
"The biggest thing is getting to the net," Saad said. "Tons of rebounds are sitting around the net. You see players around the League getting more goals and that's how they're going to come."
Pittsburgh held a 9-6 shot advantage in the period but failed to create the quality scoring chances the Blackhawks benefited from. Each team failed to score on one power play in the first, but Chicago generated traffic in front of Fleury while possessing the puck for lengthy stretches on its chance.
The Penguins' power play went 0-for-2 after failing to score on six opportunities against the Flyers. Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said he thought the power play was more potent on Wednesday but it needs to result in goals.
"We were so hot to begin the year, then we went very cold," Johnston said. "I've thought lately it's actually picked up. You saw last night, it was a deciding factor in the game that we didn't score on the power play. We need to score on the power play."