Gameday 34 – Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhaws (21-8-4) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (18-11-4)

7:30 pm/et

TV: Versus, TSN2

CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

Games against the Blackhawks are always fun. Of course, games against the Blackhawks also mean that the Penguins won't have a full roster, which is obviously the case once again. Craig Adams and Jordan Staal skated this morning and they're both game-time decisions. For the Blackhawks, Daniel Carcillo is out of the line-up, which only makes this game better.

Season Series: 0-1-0

Last Meeting That Counted: February 20, 2011. Blackhawks won 3-2 [SO].

What we said in our recap:

What we watched Sunday afternoon was an entertaining hockey game that nearly had everything. Even without Crosby and Malkin in the lineup, the Pens coming to town on a nationally televised afternoon game is a big deal. Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant in defeat, and The Ticket Brett Sterling scored a huge game-tying goal late in the third.

Know Your Enemy: Blackhawks Down Low

What they're saying:

The past few games have been a test for the Blackhawks and Emery. Both came up in a big way, especially in the overtime against the Sharks and the shootout in Minny on Wednesday. Ideally this game won’t go to OT or the shootout, but it’s happened far more often than not for the Blackhawks as I stated above. Three point games, especially to Western Conference opponents have been more the norm around these parts. In December so far the lone game the Blackhawks haven’t gone to OT or a shootout was 12/3 against St. Louis.

Pittsburgh Penguins Notes:

For some reason, the Penguins seem to like that Sidney Crosby guy.

More on Mario skating today. Best shape of his life.

Chicago Blackhawks Notes:

Coach Joel Quenneville says the Pens are dangerous despite their injuries.

The Hawks have won five-in-a-row and they're 8-1-1 in their last ten.

Favorite Blackhawks-Related Image, Photoshop or Gif:

Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Empty Netters:

Chris KunitzEvgeni Malkin – James Neal
Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal*** – Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan – Joe Vitale – Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi – Craig Adams*** – Arron Asham

Matt Niskanen – Brooks Orpik
Simon DespresDeryk Engelland
Alexandre Picard – Ben Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury

*** Game-time decisions.

Chicago Blackhawks lines from Empty Netters:

Jeremy Morin – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp – Marcus Kruger – Marian Hossa
Michal Frolik – Dave Bolland – Bryan Bickell
Andrew Brunette – Jamal Mayers – Viktor Stalberg

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Nick LeddyNiklas Hjalmarsson
John Scott – Steve Montador

Ray Emery

Emery is 9-1-2 on the season and he's won his last five straight.

The outcome here will depend on who plays for the Pens and how healthy they are. The team is a lot better with Jordan Staal and Craig Adams in the line-up than it is without them. Calling the Pens defense "beaten up" at this point would be a severe understatement. Who predicted that Niskanen would be in the top pairing when the season started? Anyone?

"We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."

Do It.

Go Pens.