CHICAGO – Once Artemi Panarin stopped thinking about scoring, he started scoring again.
The Russian rookie had two goals for the second straight night, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Pittsburgh 3-1 on Wednesday for their second win against the Penguins in two days.
“If (I) don’t score some goals in many games, then (I) start to think too much,” Panarin said through a translator. “This is what kind of not help (me). But tonight was good.”
Panarin broke a 1-1 tie when he jumped on a loose puck after a faceoff and whipped it over the glove of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:56 of the third. Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal as Chicago earned its season-high fifth straight win in the opener of a four-game homestand.
Panarin also had two goals in Chicago’s 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, including the winner in overtime. Panarin, who leads all NHL rookies with 15 goals and 38 points, had just two goals in his previous 13 games before the scoring binge against the Penguins.
“I think with him, when he thinks shot, he’s got a great shot,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Scott Darling, filling in for starter Corey Crawford, made 17 saves as the Blackhawks swept the season series against the Penguins for the second straight year.
Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh, and Fleury finished with 34 stops. The Penguins had won two in a row and four of six before the two losses against the Blackhawks.
“I think just dictating the play has been more of our identity here lately and tonight when we don’t do that you see the difference,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “We are really a team that can skate and play on our toes and when we’re doing that we’re playing fast and we’re tough to contain.
“You get a game like tonight where you sit back, you play tentative and we’re a much different team that way,” he said.
With Fleury looking strong and Chicago keeping most of the action away from Darling, the teams exchanged screened goals in the first two periods.
Artem Anisimov was camped out in front when Panarin wristed a shot by Fleury for a 1-0 lead at 15:58 of the first. Panarin’s goal capped an extended stretch in Pittsburgh’s zone for Chicago’s second line.
Malkin tied it with his 19th goal at 7:33 of the second.
Canadiens 2, Devils 1
In Montreal, Torrey Mitchell scored a short-handed goal in the second period to lift the Canadiens to a win.
Captain Max Pacioretty also scored for Habs (23-16-3), who were playing their first home game in nearly three weeks.
Mike Condon made 19 saves for the victory.
Canucks 3, Hurricanes 2
In Vancouver, Bo Horvat scored his second goal of the game with 1:06 left to give the Canucks a victory over Carolina.
Sven Baertschi added a goal and an assist for Vancouver
Maple Leafs 4, Ducks 0
In Anaheim, Jonathan Bernier made 38 saves in his 11th career shutout, and P.A. Parenteau scored two goals in Toronto’s victory over the Ducks.
Avalanche 4, Blues 3 (OT)
In Denver, Gabriel Landeskog scored at 4:44 of overtime and the Avalanche rallied late to beat St. Louis.