Saturday, March 01, 2014
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Preview: Penguins at Blackhawks

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[March 01, 2014]  Two of the league's top teams clash outdoors on Saturday night as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field in the final installment of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series. Chicago, which is among three teams that sit five points behind Anaheim in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, is coming off a 3-2-2 road trip during which it dropped the final two games. The Blackhawks scored a total of one goal in the losses, falling 2-0 at Phoenix on Feb. 7 before suffering a 2-1 setback to the New York Rangers on Thursday in their return from the Olympic break.

The Penguins, who lead the Eastern Conference and are tied for second overall in the league with Chicago and St. Louis at 84 points, also are winless in their last two games. After winning its first four shootouts of the season, Pittsburgh has suffered consecutive losses in the bonus format to New York and Montreal. The Penguins have earned at least one point in six of their last seven contests (4-1-2).

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (40-15-4): The Olympic break hardly cooled off James Neal, who notched a goal and an assist in Thursday's shootout loss to the Canadiens. The 26-year-old enters Saturday's outdoor contest with a four-game goal-scoring streak and a six-game point run during which he has collected four assists. Evgeni Malkin has registered four goals and five assists during his six-game point streak.

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ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (35-12-14): Chicago has to be thankful its February schedule was brief as it scored two goals or fewer in four of the five contests (2-2-1). Patrick Kane's recent offensive struggles were not limited to the Winter Games as the superstar was kept off the scoresheet in four of his last five contests. Captain Jonathan Toews also has slumped of late, going without a point in five of his last nine games while scoring only two goals in his last 13 matches.

OVERTIME

1. The Blackhawks have not played in Chicago since dropping a 3-1 decision to Winnipeg on Jan. 26.

2. Pittsburgh is riding a five-game point streak (3-0-2) against the Blackhawks dating back to Feb. 14, 2007.

3. Penguins LW Tanner Glass had the elbowing major and game misconduct he received in Thursday's game rescinded by the league.

PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Blackhawks 3

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