PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane beat Marc-Andre Fleury in a shootout to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Toews flipped a shot between Fleury’s legs in the first round, and Kane followed with a wrist shot over Fleury’s glove to help the Blackhawks win in Pittsburgh for just the second time in 17 years.
David Rundblad and Marian Hossa scored in regulation for Chicago. Corey Crawford made 33 saves and held Pittsburgh’s David Perron and Sidney Crosby in check in the shootout.
Zach Sill and Steve Downie scored for Pittsburgh. Fleury stopped 24 shots but the Penguins limped into the All-Star break with their fourth straight loss.
The Penguins played without defenseman Kris Letang and center Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin went through warm-ups before being scratched due to an undisclosed issue. Letang was held out as a precaution following a frightening collision with Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo in a bruising overtime loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night.
The absence of two vital parts of Pittsburgh’s core took some of the punch out of the game both teams hope is a Stanley Cup preview, though neither has looked like a top-flight contender the last month.
Pittsburgh has cooled recently to fall just off the pace of the first-place New York Islanders in the crowded Metropolitan Division. Chicago trails surprising Nashville and steady St. Louis in the Central.
Rundblad gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 6:56 in. The defenseman took advantage of a dominant shift by the top line of Hossa, Toews and Brandon Saad. The trio kept the puck buried in Pittsburgh’s zone for more than a minute, with Rundblad taking a feed from Hossa at the point and sending a shot past a well-screened Fleury for his fourth goal.
Hossa doubled Chicago’s lead early in the second with his 10th goal, a wrist shot from just inside the left circle that Fleury barely saw through the sea of bodies in front of him. Yet just when it appeared the Penguins were ready to limp into the break, they responded behind some unlikely contributors.
Sill went 47 games before recording the first point of his career with an assist against Minnesota last week. He didn’t wait nearly as long to earn his second, sending a wrist shot from the slot over Crawford’s glove for his first NHL goal 5:21 into the second.
The fourth-line forward nearly smacked a Chicago player in the head with his stick during a giddy celebration, one that provided the spark necessary to wake the Penguins from a weeklong swoon.
Downie tied it at 12:22 of the second, stuffing a rebound past a sprawled Crawford for his first goal since Jan. 2. That set up an electric back-and-forth third period that played in stark contrast to Pittsburgh’s penalty-filled meeting with the Flyers the night before.
NOTES: The Penguins host Winnipeg next Tuesday but will play 21 of their final 36 games on the road. … The Blackhawks face a difficult six-game trip after the break, starting next Wednesday at Los Angeles. … The game was stopped twice in the first period due to a clock malfunction. One delay lasted nearly five minutes. … The Blackhawks went 1 for 2 on the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 2. … Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall said Rinaldo feels “horrible” about his illegal check on Letang. Rinaldo will have a teleconference with the Department of Player Safety on Monday.
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