Rapid Reaction: Penguins 4, Blackhawks 2
CHICAGO -- Here's a look at the Hawks' preseason loss to the Pens on Friday night.
How it Happened: The Hawks played a mostly sloppy game until the third period when they seemingly woke up. Brandon Pirri scored twice making a case for a roster spot. Ray Emery had his issues though. He misplayed a puck, during a power play, onto the stick of Matt Cooke at center ice and Cooke buried it from there as Emery was way out of position. It wasn’t all Emery, though. The Hawks defensive zone coverage had some issues while their penalty killing gave up a goal to Steve Sullivan after a Jonathan Toews face-off loss in the first period. The Hakws came hard in the third but it was too little too late.
What it Means: If rounding into regular season shape was one of the goals in the game for the home team, the Hawks only saved themselves with a dominant third period. That came only after falling behind 3-0. Sometimes they looked flat sometimes just sloppy but Pirri played well and that carried over. Neither of his goals were highlight reel moves but he’s showing the ability to be around the puck and finish. He has four goals in the preseason and another in a shootout. The Hawks fell to 2-4 in exhibition play, losing at home for the first time.
Goalie Battle: Ray Emery looked shaky and never came up with the big save when he needed to. His turnover, when coming way out of the ice in the second period is meaningless if the rest of his game was sharp. With little time left on the clock to impress the Hawks, a roster spot may not be there for the taking. In the short sample size this preseason it also appears the team plays better in front of Alexander Salak than Emery.
What’s Next: The Hawks have one final tune-up before the regular season begins. Sunday they travel to Washington before opening up in Dallas next Friday.