PITTSBURGH – The reeling Chicago Blackhawks took another hard hit. The Pittsburgh Penguins appear to be coming together at just the right time.
Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the final five minutes, helping the Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the injury-riddled Blackhawks on Sunday night.
“I thought this was one of our most physical games of the year,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “We saw it from the beginning of the game until the end.”
The biggest hit came in the second period.
Already playing without Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks lost captain Jonathan Toews to an upper-body injury when he was drilled by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Toews was holding his left arm on the bench before heading down the runway for good in the second.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t believe the injury to Toews was serious, characterizing it as day to day.
“We’ll get a better assessment tomorrow,” Quenneville said.
James Neal and Lee Stempniak also scored for the Penguins, who won their second straight and snapped a three-game home losing streak. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves in his 36th victory of the season.
Orpik’s hit on Toews occurred with 6:30 remaining in the middle period. The two were going for a loose puck.
“It was a big hit,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. “You could tell he was trying to hit him hard. He knew who he was hitting. It’s tough when you see your captain get hit like that.”
Quenneville said he needed to see a replay of Orpik’s hit. Bylsma said he only saw the hit live, and believed it was clean. Orpik agreed.
“There’s no penalty, so I don’t know,” Orpik said. “I think that hit happens 10 times a game.”
It’s been a rough stretch for injuries for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who will be without star forward Kane for the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury. Bryan Bickell is out with an upper-body injury but is expected to return soon.
Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa played with Orpik with the Penguins during their run to the 2008 Stanley Cup finals.
“(Orpik) is a heavy hitter,” Hossa said. “That’s his game. It’s never easy to play against him. Sometimes he’s on the borderline, but I know him as a fair guy and that’s how I remember him.”
Bruins 4, Flyers 3 (SO)
In Philadelphia, Patrice Bergeron scored in the second period and also tallied in the shootout.
Red Wings 3, Lightning 2
In Detroit, David Legwand had a goal and an assist as the Red Wings held off Tampa Bay to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Rangers 5, Oilers 0
In Edmonton, backup Cam Talbot stopped 26 shots for his third career shutout and Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello scored two goals apiece to lead New York to its sixth win in seven games.
Predators 4, Capitals 3 (SO)
In Nashville, Craig Smith scored the only goal in the shootout.
Senators 6, Flames 3
In Ottawa, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris had two goals apiece, leading the Senators to the win.