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Blackhawks 5, Penguins 1

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- In a game that looked as if it was played inside a snow globe, Chicago captain and center Jonathan Toews scored two goals and goaltender Corey Crawford and the defense around him shined as the Blackhawks easily defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 Saturday in the NHL Stadium Series game at Soldier Field.

Crawford stopped all but one of Pittsburgh's 32 shots, while his Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 of Chicago's 40 shots.

The game was played in a steady snow -- estimates of up to four inches fell during the contest.

The win could prove costly to the Blackhawks, however, as right winger Marian Hossa suffered an upper-body injury late in in the first period. The team announced shortly after the second period began that Hossa would not return for the remainder of the game.

Hossa suffered a hard hit behind the Penguins net and gingerly made his way to the Blackhawks bench.

The Blackhawks showed why they're the highest-scoring team in the NHL (208 goals) with a constant onslaught that Pittsburgh's defense could not contain in the first meeting between the two clubs since Dec. 20, 2011.

Neither team had much luck finding the net throughout much of the first period until right winger Patrick Sharp wound up in the right place at the right time, slapping a 15-foot shot past Fleury at 15:35.

It was Sharp's team-leading 29th goal of the season.

Pittsburgh had a hard time getting anything started offensively, managing just five shots in the opening period to Chicago's 14.

The Blackhawks made it 2-0 with 9:12 left in the second period -- but it took a meeting between the four on-ice officials and a video review before confirming such -- on Toews' 20th goal.

Right winger Kris Versteeg followed with his 10th goal of the season on a perfect feed from winger Patrick Kane at 16:43 of the middle period to make it 3-0, putting the game out of reach early for the Blackhawks.

Pittsburgh recorded its only tally on right winger James Neal's 22nd goal of the season at 6:21 of the third period.

Chicago poured it on with two more goals in the third period by left winger Bryan Bickell (ninth) at 13:57 and Toews' second goal of the night (21st) at 17:52.

Pittsburgh, which suffered only its fourth loss in regulation in its last 18 games (11-4-3), was more aggressive in the second period with 13 shots vs. 17 by Chicago.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Chicago (36-12-14) while extending Pittsburgh's (40-16-4) own loss streak to three straight. Both teams combined to win three of last five Stanley Cups -- Pittsburgh in 2009, Chicago in 2010 and 2013.

It was the second outdoor game in Blackhawks history, avenging a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in 2009 at Wrigley Field. Pittsburgh is now 1-2 in outdoor games, beating Buffalo in 2008 and losing to Washington in 2012.

NOTES: The outdoor temperature at puck drop was 17.4 degrees. ... Attendance was a Blackhawks' single-game record of 62,921, which is almost triple what the Blackhawks typically draw at United Center, where they have a streak of 256 consecutive sellouts going, the longest current active streak in the NHL. ... Saturday marked the first time that NHL scoring leader C Sidney Crosby and Chicago captain C Jonathan Toews met in the NHL. This was only the third time Crosby faced the Blackhawks and was his first trip to the Windy City in over eight years (Jan. 13, 2006, his rookie season) and his first game vs. Chicago since Feb. 14, 2007, at Mellon Arena. ... Scratches for Pittsburgh were D Paul Martin, D Kris Legang and RW Chuck Kobasew. ... Scratches for Chicago were C Peter Regin and D Sheldon Brookbank. ... Chicago returns to the United Center for the first time in five weeks Tuesday vs. Colorado and Thursday vs. Columbus. The Blackhawks' last game at the United Center was a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Jan. 26. ... Pittsburgh began a five-game roadtrip with Saturday's game. Next up for the Penguins is Nashville on Tuesday.
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