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Sunday, March 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Penguins 4, Hawks 1

By Jesse Rogers



PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a 4-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing their third game in a row.

How it happened: Pittsburgh scored two goals in the span of 21 seconds in the first period and never looked back. Brent Seabrook was knocked down at the Penguins blue line, causing an odd-man situation, on which James Neal eventually finished. That was quickly followed by Lee Stempniak’s ability to get behind the defense for another score. The Hawks finally got on the board midway through the second period after some nice passing in the offensive zone. Sheldon Brookbank scored from the point with Andrew Shaw providing a screen. But two Sidney Crosby goals, including an empty-netter in the third period, ended what was a close game to that point.

Toews hurt: Jonathan Toews left the game in the second period after getting hit by defenseman Brooks Orpik. Toews was seen holding his left arm and immediately went to the locker room. But after the game Joel Quenneville said he thought the injury wasn’t serious. There was no call made on the play, which could be interpreted as a high hit.

What it means: It all depends on how long Toews is out. The Hawks already are struggling to score goals and morale would undoubtedly sink even lower if the team’s captain was out of the lineup for an extended period of time. They already are missing Patrick Kane. The Hawks have clinched a playoff berth, so getting healthy might be the most important goal with such a short time remaining in the regular season. They get a break by not playing until Thursday; it gives Toews a chance to be re-evaluated without the pressure of trying to play in a game right away.

What’s next: The Hawks are off until Thursday, when they take on the Minnesota Wild at home still looking to reach 100 points. They’re stuck on 99.