Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday:
1. Blackhawks suffer first loss to Penguins in five years
The Blackhawks desperately needed a victory on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks after a rough four-game road trip and they got it. But after the game, the Blackhawks acknowledged the fact that they need to start stringing together some wins after a pair of three- and four-game losing streaks to open the season.
They picked up a point for the fourth time in five games, but the Penguins got the second one in a shootout for their first victory against Chicago since March 30, 2014. The Penguins were 0-7-3 and had been outscored 43-16 for a goal differential of -27 over their previous 10 games against the Blackhawks.
2. Corey Crawford turns in another strong outing
Coming off a 36-save victory over the Canucks, the Blackhawks went back to Crawford between the pipes and gave him a second straight start for the first time since the opening two games of the season. And for good reason.
Going into Saturday's matchup, Crawford was 9-1-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in 10 career starts against the Penguins. He stopped 29 of 31 shots for a save percentage of .936 on Saturday and turned aside all five shots in overtime. But he gave up two goals during the three-round shootout and suffered his sixth loss (second in overtime/shootout) of the season.
Over his last three starts, Crawford has .929 save percentage. His 1-0-2 record in that stretch doesn't reflect it, but he's been great as of late.
3. Patrick Kane heating up
After recording only one point in the final five games of October, Kane has opened November with a five-game point streak. He followed up his three-point effort on Thursday by scoring his third goal in his fourth game, snapping a shot past Penguins goaltender Matt Murray in the second period to put the Blackhawks up 2-0.
Kane is back to averaging above a point-per-game that we're used to seeing out of him, but he still hasn't reached his top level yet this season. He acknowledged at the beginning of the campaign that it sometimes takes him a while to get going, and perhaps we're seeing him kick into gear. The Blackhawks need him to.
4. Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach take a breather
The Blackhawks held out top prospects Boqvist and Dach against the Penguins, but not for performance-based reasons. Head coach Jeremy Colliton said it was part of the plan going into the weekend.
With it being the first of a back-to-back, the team felt that it was a good opportunity for the two teenagers to take a breather, both mentally and physically, as they try to get accustomed to the grind of an 82-game regular season schedule.
Dach logged 9:02 of ice time in Thursday’s 5-2 win and has only one shot on goal in his past four games. Boqvist had three shots on goal and a -1 rating in a season-low 12:18 of ice time against the Canucks. Expect both of them to be back in the lineup on Sunday vs. Toronto.
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