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3 Impressions: Hawks 3, Pens 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 3-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks.

1. Flower Power
Marc-Andre Fleury got the start in goal in back-to-back nights. And judging by his performance, I’m sure head coach Mike Sullivan won’t hesitate to use him again in such a scenario. Fleury was beyond brilliant, and the only reason the Pens had a fighting chance in this contest. He made diving saves, split saves, breakaway saves, point-blank saves and more. His best sequence came when he got an elbow on Patrick Kane from 10 feet away and then made a diving split to get his block/stick on Trevor van Riemsdyk’s 1-timer in the slot. Of all the star power on the ice, Fleury shined the brightest.

2. Special Teams
The Blackhawks badly outplayed the Pens through the first two periods of the game, outshooting them 25-11. But the score was tied at 1-1. The two biggest reasons for that were: 1) the goaltender (see above), and 2) Pittsburgh’s special teams play. The Pens tied the game at 1-1 when their power-play connected on an abbreviated opportunity. The Pens have scored a power-play goal in seven of their last nine games (10-for-25, 40%). On the flip side, the Pens PK unit killed off all 3 chances against to extend its streak to 21 consecutive kills.

3. Manna Mania
For all the big saves by Fleury in this two game series, there is one man who apparently has his number. Russian rookie Artemi Panarin scored four goals in two games against the Pens’ netminder, including the overtime winner last night. He tallied twice tonight, and both in brilliant fashion. He was making it rain like bread from heaven.

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