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Stadium Series: Toews, Blackhawks Thrash Penguins, 5-1

by Photo of Gil Santos

Captain Jonathan Toews leads his Chicago Blackhawks past Sindey Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins in blowout fashion at Solider Field.

Stadium Series: Toews, Blackhawks Thrash Penguins, 5-1

The Chicago Blackhawks fought through the elements and laid a beat down on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Solider Field. Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews led the way with two goals and an assist in the 5-1 drubbing of the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins.

The game was the fourth and final game of the NHL's Stadium Series and garnered 62,900 fans despite the tough weather conditions.

With the help of heavy snow and gusting winds, the Blackhawks shut down the Penguins' high-powered offense. At one point in the second period, the Blackhawks were outshooting the Penguins, 27-10. Pittsburgh could not get anything going on offense and Sidney Crosby was held in check throughout the game. Things were so tough on offense that the Penguins needed help from the other team to score their lone goal. 

Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp was also a big contributor with a goal and an assist of his own. Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots in an impressive showing for the Hawks.

On the other side, Penguins' net minder Marc-Andre Fleury was a busy man throughout the night as he saved 35 of 40 shots he faced.

Most of first period was the feeling out phase for both teams with the heavy snow and strong winds. It was difficult to pass and control the puck with the snow accumulating on the ice, so teams had to adjust their play. The Blackhawks were the first team to adapt to the conditions as they broke the ice late into the period. Toews made a nice pass from below the goal line to Sharp, who beat Fleury top shelf on the far side of the net for a 1-0 advantage.

The weather conditions improved in the second period, which upped the pace of the game and the Blackhawks capitalized on it. Midway through the second, Toews made a beautiful move around Penguins' top defenseman Brooks Orpik and squeaked a shot through Fleury's legs.

Chicago upped the lead to 3-0 at 16:43 after Patrick Kane showed great patience on a 3-on-1 rush and fed it to Kris Versteeg for the tap in score.

The Penguins finally got on the board with the assistance of Blackhawks' defenseman Brent Seabrook. Penguins' James Neal tried to jam the puck in past Crawford at the front of the net and Seabrook inadvertently put in the rebound to give the Pittsburgh a little bit of life. However, it would be short lived as the Blackhawks scored again off yet another odd-man rush. Blackhawks' defenseman Michal Rozsival sprung a 2-on-1 after he swung the puck around the boards to Brandon Saad. Saad then fed it across to Bryan Bickell and after two jams up close, he put it in to make it 4-1.

Toews rounded out the scoring with his second goal of the game and received help from the Penguins. Following a turnover that sprung a 2-on-1, Toews shot the puck up close and it deflected off Fleury and Penguins' defenseman Simon Despres' stick into the back of the net. A fitting end to a disastrous game for the Penguins and an amazing night for the Blackhawks.

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