By Michael Calvert
In a game that would be a premiere regular season matchup, the Hawks took on the Pens at home in preseason game #2. Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Evgeni Malkin did not suit up for this game, so it lacked a lot of the star power this matchup normally would present. Toews was out again with injury and is expected to be back for preseason game #3 against Washington on Friday.
1st period: The Hawks opened the scoring with a very nice Leblanc takeaway and feed to Patrick Sharp. Sharp put a beautiful wrister past Voukun.at 5:19 in the first. Roughly four minutes later the Pens evened the score 1-1 on a Derrick Pouliot shot that 5 holed Khabby and could possibly be described as soft. Six minutes later the Pens strike again on a Joe Vitale putback at 16:53. The Vitale goal ended the scoring for the first period.
2nd period: At 4:19 the stars struck, on a pretty sloppy defensive zone turnover by Kruger, Chris Kunitz found Sidney Crosby for an easy tap in. The Hawks began their comeback, down a man, Ben Smith made likely the play of the game making an offensive zone take away and beating Vokoun on a shorthanded breakaway at 12:17. Smith’s goal was of the unassisted variety as he basically made the entire play himself, it was an all around great play by Smith. The Hawks had a very good minute of power play time at the end of the second, with Clendening quarterbacking, sharp passing led to a Saad to Kane open look that which Vokoun made a “look what I found” save going post to post.
3rd period: The second half of the pp carried over from period 2 kind of fizzled out as broken up by period pp’s are wont to do. The pp finally got on the board after 5 unsuccessful opportunities when Bollig was able to bang home a rebound and tie the game up at 3.
OT: The OT period wasn’t terribly thrilling though it did have a stretch of very good scoring opportunities. Patrick Kane made a beautiful move into the Penguins zone that only he and a very small handful of NHL players could make. Once into the zone Kane dropped off for Clendening for a wide open shot that he shot/passed somewere in the vicinity of the Penguins goal but really was not an actual scoring opportunity. Directly from that play the Pens cleared the zone and Khabby makes a great save on Jeffrey from a great Crosby feed. The OT ended with no scoring.
Shootout: The Hawks went with Kane, Teravainen, and Leblanc. The Penguins sent out Beau Bennet, Sidney Crosby and that was all it took. Kane used his usual slo-mo 45 move highlight reel attempt, but Vokoun was up to the task. Pittsburgh sent out Bo Bennet who beat Khabby glove side. Terevainen was up next for the Hawks and put a nifty move on Vokoun, but Vokoun made the save. Sidney Crosby was up second for the Penguins and Khabby made the save on Crosby’s glove side attempt. Lastly for the Hawks was Drew Leblanc, who shot wide, and that was all she wrote.
Notable ice time for Hawk youngsters:
Drew Leblanc 14:58 +1 with 1 assist
Jimmy Hayes 13:10 even +/- 1 sog
Teuvo Teravainen 13:10 even +/- with 1 sog
Ben Smith 20:04 with a goal and assist +2
Viktor Svedberg 19:30 even +/- with 2 sog
Adam Clendening 23:32 -1 with 3 sog
Ryan Stanton 18:15 +1. 4 penalty minutes
Penguins went 1/5 on the power play and the Hawks were 1/6 .
The stat line looked awfully familiar with the Hawks outshooting Pittsburgh 33-31 and almost doubling the Penguins with a 27-15 takeaway differential. The Hawks were out hit by a 3-1 margin and were pretty well handled 37-24 at the dot.
The three stars of the game were #1 Chris Kunitz, #2 Ben Smith and #3 Sidney Crosby
For the Hawks Ben Smith was certainly the player of the game. This should be the year, barring injury, he sticks around. Hopefully for Hawks fans and Smith alike he can keep up this type of play. I can see Smith being a better version of Andrew Shaw and becoming a real fan favorite.