PITTSBURGH — The Blackhawks were routed by the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. One night after giving up the first goal 17 seconds into the game, the Penguins topped that by scoring first at the 15-second mark of the first period. The Blackhawks found themselves quickly behind for the third straight contest. It’s been a common theme early on.
2. The Blackhawks generated five shot attempts, three shots on goal and two scoring chances in the first period, according to Natural Stat Trick. The Penguins had 24 shot attempts, 13 shots on goal and 15 scoring chances; three of those scoring chances came on the power play.
3. In three first periods this season, the Blackhawks have been outscored 8-1 and outshot 38-17. It’s not hard to see where the concerns are so far.
4. The Penguins were without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, all three of whom are injured. The Blackhawks were at full strength. Things should not have gone this bad, this quickly.
5. I feel for Marc-Andre Fleury. He returned to Pittsburgh for the first time as a member of the Blackhawks and his night lasted only 11:25 after giving up four goals on 11 shots. The second goal fell on his shoulders after he misplayed the puck, but it’s hard to fault him for the other three.
6. Kevin Lankinen made a relief appearance in the first period and stopped his first 10 shots. He finished with 14 saves on 15 shots for a save percentage of .933. He was solid, if you’re looking for something to cheer about.
7. Speaking of bright spots, the special teams continued to have success. The Blackhawks scored a power-play goal for the third straight game and killed off two more penalties to make it eight kills in a row to start the season. Where would the Blackhawks be without that so far?
8. Head coach Jeremy Colliton changed up the lines for this game. Kirby Dach was put on a line with Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane, while Henrik Borgstrom centered the third line between Brandon Hagel and Tyler Johnson. The lines lasted a little more than a period after falling behind 4-0 so quickly.
9. The Blackhawks gave up five odd-man rushes to Colorado and six to New Jersey, according to Sportlogiq. The Penguins had eight through two periods alone.
10. The Blackhawks have scored only two 5-on-5 goals in 140-plus minutes of hockey this season. Connor Murphy scored the first in Colorado and Kirby Dach the second late in the third period against Pittsburgh.
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