Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: Blackhawks Finally Win A Shootout

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Patrick Kane Scores Only Goal Of Shootout; Blackhawks Win 3-2

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Patrick Kane scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at United Center.

In the third round of the shootout, Kane skated in and deked to the forehand before stuffing the puck in past the outstretched right pad of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Tyler Kennedy was the last hope for Pittsburgh, but Corey Crawford made a stop on the lifted backhand for the win.

Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell each had a goal while Crawford stopped 24 shots for the Blackhawks, who had dropped three of four coming in.

Brett Sterling and Matt Cooke each scored for the Penguins, who have lost three of their last four. Fleury finished the contest with 29 stops.

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Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: Depleted Stanley Cup Winners Face Off

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year and the Penguins the year before... but this matchup, which likely looked real promising for NBC when they made it, isn't so great now. The Blackhawks are struggling at 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and the Penguins, despite ranking fourth in the Eastern Conference with 76 points, are playing this game minus a number of key players. That includes Sidney Crosby, out with the aftereffects of various concussions, and Evgeni Malkin, done for the season with torn knee ligaments.

With 24 games remaining in the season, and bad losses to teams like the Blue Jackets in the rear-view mirror, this one really becomes a must-win. Every game is now like that for the Blackhawks, who are only one point from dropping into 13th place in the Western Conference.

They'll have to have a few more games without coach Joel Quenneville, who was released from the hospital yesterday. The team released this statement from team physician Dr. Michael Terry:

“Joel was released from the hospital today and is resting comfortably at home. We will continue to monitor him and still anticipate a full recovery. We are working to determine when it is best for him to return to his coaching duties."

Which makes it sound like it'll be a while. It's hard to tell what might be better for the coach's health -- getting back to a work routine, or not having to watch the Blackhawks melt down every single game.

The game begins at 2:30 p.m. as part of NBC's "Hockey Day In America".

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