The Chicago Blackhawks felt bamboozled for much of Saturday’s 6-1 road loss to the Boston Bruins.
“It almost looked like they were running a bit of a power play on some of our five-on-five (plays),” Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy said. “That can’t happen.”
While a back-to-back would seem to be the opposite of a remedy for that problem, the Blackhawks at least know they’re not facing the surging Bruins on Sunday. Instead, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins who will visit the Windy City on the heels of Saturday’s 3-0 road shutout of the Winnipeg Jets.
Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said the team “got caught just standing and watching quite a bit” as Boston matched an NHL record with its 11th successive victory at home to open the season.
Chicago has lost three straight and nine of 11 after being outshot by the Bruins 43-18.
“If you work and compete, there’s no reason in this league you can’t compete with a team like that,” Richardson said. “We’ve got to realize that quickly and not be starstruck.”
While the Penguins haven’t enjoyed the sizzling start Boston has had, they still boast many of the same marquee names that have steered the franchise for long stretches.
Sidney Crosby tops the list, and on Saturday he tallied two assists to extend his point streak to three games, a stretch during which he has three goals and four assists. Longtime teammate Evgeni Malkin, meanwhile, is expected to play in his 1,000th career game.
Tristan Jarry stopped all 32 shots he faced in Winnipeg, notching his 12th career shutout for the Penguins.
“I was stopping the puck,” Jarry said. “It’s always nice when you don’t let anything in. But, obviously, I just think it’s getting better every game and making sure you’re doing the little things right, just maybe a little bit of extra video and some good practices.”
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan praised the team’s overall commitment to defense in a tight game. Pittsburgh didn’t secure the final margin until an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
“We’re making progress. This was one of our more conscientious games,” Sullivan said. “Playing in a one-goal hockey game is a very good experience for us to go through because you have to be diligent with the puck and you just have to make sure you have an element of patience associated with your game.”
Pittsburgh has gone three straight games without yielding a power-play goal.
The Blackhawks are working to restore their confidence amid an extended slide. On Saturday, Chicago allowed 47 scoring chances, the most the team has allowed in a game since early last season.
“(When) you go through a stretch where you’re not winning games or things aren’t going your way, then you start tightening up a little bit,” Chicago defenseman Jarred Tinordi said. “We have to revert back to that feeling in the room where we were all believing in each other.”
–Field Level Media