Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks at PPG Paints Arena.
A contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks is normally an epic affair between the best two organizations in the NHL. Both are stacked with talent, plenty of hardware and banners in the rafters. They've combined for 5 of the past 8 Stanley Cup titles.
But the Pens' injury-depleted lineup didn't stand a chance against the Blackhawks on this night. It was evident from the opening minutes of the 1st period that Chicago was by far superior.
The Hawks scored 4 goals in the 1st period, including 2 goals in the final minute of play in a span of 39 seconds.
The Pens had several breakdowns and were unable to handle Chicago's speed and rush plays. The Blackhawks had several odd-man rushes throughout the 20 minutes, skated circles around the Pens and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was under heavy fire.
Although Pittsburgh managed to play better in the final 2 periods, thanks possibly to Chicago easing off of the attack with the tangible lead, the game was over after the 1st period.
*Bryan Rust scored his 13th goal of the season in the 3rd period. It was a brilliant display of his hands. Rust carried the puck to the crease, and in tight was able to pull the puck through a stick and around the outstretched pad of Corey Crawford. It was a pure goal-scorer's goal.
*We can take a minute to appreciate the sick setup by Patrick Kane on Artemi Panarin's opening goal of the game. Kane held the puck and began to carry around the net. As soon as Fleury pushed off from post-to-post, Kane dropped the puck onto the stick of Panarin for an easy tally. It was a ridiculous play by a truly gifted player.
*One piece of good news for the Pens, no one was injured in the contest. So, there's that.