Penguins 3, Blackhawks 2: Five-game winning streak comes to an end
By Adam L. Jahns firstname.lastname@example.org December 20, 2011 10:30PM
John Scott, Deryk Engelland
Updated: January 22, 2012 8:19AM
PITTSBURGH — In many ways, John Scott did the right thing. A teammate had been bowled over by a hit that should warrant a suspension and Scott, as the Blackhawks enforcer, made his opponent answer for it.
But fighting these days in the NHL sometimes comes with that extra instigator penalty, and Scott and the rest of the Hawks had to watch as the Pittsburgh Penguins scored on the ensuing power play in their 3-2 victory at the CONSOL Energy Center on Tuesday.
Coach Joel Quenneville called the sequence “a critical point in the game” as the Hawks five-game winning streak came to an end and they suffered their first regulation loss in December.
“To be short-handed on a play like that, it was a tough turn of events at the end of the night,” Quenneville said. “They scored the first goal on the [power] play. They got a lot of momentum there and we took too many penalties in the first. That’s how they got the game.”
Viktor Stalberg propelled a Hawks’ rally in the third with a goal and an assist. Jonathan Toews also scored for the Hawks, who couldn’t get the equalizer during a power play in the final minutes.
“I don’t know what we were playing like in the first 40 minutes; we basically handed them two points,” said Stalberg, who hit a couple posts in the third period. “We played really well in the third, but sometimes it’s frustrating we can’t do that for the full 60 minutes.”
The Penguins, who remain without superstar Sidney Crosby (concussion), jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods, benefiting from the Hawks’ penalty problems. Evgeni Malkin had a big game with three assists while Chris Kunitz (power play), James Neal and Tyler Kennedy scored for Pittsburgh.
As expected, the Penguins were physical early on. Defenseman Deryk Engelland sent Marcus Kruger crashing hard into the boards with a hit, where he left his feet and made direct contact with Kruger’s head.
Scott fought Engelland seconds later and left him with a bloody face. But Scott received an extra instigator penalty, giving the Penguins a power play. Kunitz was sprung by a nice pass by Malkin and got behind Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy for a 1-0 lead halfway through the first.
Quenneville wasn’t pleased that Engelland wasn’t penalized for his hit on Kruger, while Scott received the extra instigator penalty. But Scott “absolutely” did the right thing in that situation, Quenneville added.
“I’m going to do that every time,” Scott said. “I think he knew there was going to be a fight. We dropped the gloves at the same time.”
Ray Emery had a strong game, turning away 25 of 28 shots.
The Hawks’ penalty kill also was solid, killing off 6 of 7
penalties through 40 minutes.
Marc-Andre Fleury (36 saves) made some key stops, including a tough one on Patrick Sharp early in the third and during the Hawks’ power play in the final 1:29. The Hawks fired 19 shots at him in the third.
Engelland’s hit, though, should remain hot topic into Wednesday. All the Hawks stood by Scott’s response.
“It’s good to see that,” Stalberg said. “John, that’s what he’s supposed to do and stand up for a guy. ... We have to find a way to kill that off for him.”