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Bickell scores first power-play goal of preseason in 3-2 shootout loss

Pittsburgh Penguins' Pascal Dupuis (9) tries control puck between Chicago Blackhawks' BrandPirri (37) Bryan Bickell (29) first period an NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins' Pascal Dupuis (9) tries to control the puck between Chicago Blackhawks' Brandon Pirri (37) and Bryan Bickell (29) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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Updated: October 25, 2013 6:26AM



PITTSBURGH — In an actual hockey game, the Blackhawks’ rookies and roster hopefuls had a lot more to play for than the Penguins’ stars, and it showed. In a shootout, though, pure talent usually wins.

James Neal and Sidney Crosby scored in the shootout to give the Penguins a comeback 3-2 victory over a game Hawks squad devoid of most of its stars.

Without Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad, among others, the Hawks hung with a team with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Neal, among others. Bryan Bickell scored shorthanded and on a power play (the Hawks’ first power play goal in 23 chances this preseason) to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead, but Kris Letang scored twice to send the game to overtime.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 31 saves as the Hawks fell to 3-0-2 in the preseason. He wasn’t surprised that the Hawks’ B-team gave the Penguins all they could handle.

“It seems that way in exhibition games,” Khabibulin said. “Whenever you have a younger lineup, and maybe guys have a little bit more to prove, that’s just the way it goes.”

Brandon Pirri, fighting for a roster spot after missing the first four preseason games, had an assist in a strong game.

“It’s exciting playing against the best players,” he said. “Us young guys, we wanted to make the most of the opportunity. We’re all fighting for jobs here.”

The Hawks got similar strong efforts from patchwork lineups in road victories against the Capitals and Red Wings.

“You look at the Washington and Detroit games, we didn’t have our best lineups in there, but those are the types of lineups that come in and work hard and play with a purpose,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Cut-down day

The Hawks trimmed their roster by 10 on Monday. Among those sent to Rockford were forwards Mark McNeill and Garret Ross, and defensemen Dylan Olsen, Viktor Svedberg and Adam Clendening. Teuvo Teravainen was officially assigned to Finland, and 2013 first-rounder and Chicago native Ryan Hartman was assigned to the Ontario Hockey League.

While cut-down day can be hard on the players, Quenneville — who went through it himself as a rookie in 1978 — said it’s an opportunity to not only tell players what they need to work on to reach the NHL, but also to praise the progress they’ve made. Quenneville tells each player individually that he’s been cut.

“Earlier on [in my career] it might have been a little more challenging; now I don’t mind it at all,” he said. “A lot of the cuts, it’s positive. Talking to Svedberg earlier today, it was a positive situation where you’re talking about how well he played, how he’s come a long way in a short amount of time.

“Some guys are crushed and some guys are upset, but it’s a tough business. You’ve got to learn, you’ve got to be a good pro about it. Find a way to either prove us wrong, or prove that eventually you’re going to find a way to get there.”

Quenneville expects to make more cuts on Tuesday, and likely will have his opening-day roster close to set by the preseason finale on Saturday against Washington.

Injury update

Andrew Shaw (lower body) again skated on Monday, and might play Saturday. Quenneville still hopes Marian Hossa (upper body) will be back on the ice Wednesday.



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