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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 1st (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (40-15-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (35-12-14), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The NHL couldn't have found a better venue for the first ever regular-season meeting between Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

Fresh of winning a gold medal together at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the two Canadians go head-to-head outdoors on Saturday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Chicago Blackhawks and Soldier Field.

This marks the fifth of six outdoor games on the league's schedule this season and the fourth of the "Stadium Series." The Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks will also play under the sky on Sunday afternoon in the Heritage Classic at BC Place.

Saturday night will mark the third outdoor game for the Penguins, who beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 in the first regular-season outdoor game on U.S. soil. Pittsburgh lost 3-1 to the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in the 2011 Winter Classic.

"For a few of our guys, this is going to be the third time they've been able to play outdoors," noted Pens coach Dan Bylsma. "I think sometimes the elements are always a little bit different. But having said that, you can probably overcoach this game, and that's something I think I'll remember from the last one."

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, host their second outdoor game. They dropped a 6-4 decision to the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic.

Toews had an assist in that game, while Duncan Keith and Kris Versteeg were among the goal scorers for the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane did not have a point.

Evgeni Malkin had a goal in the loss to the Capitals, while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the setback after giving up three goals on 32 shots faced. He did have an assist on Malkin's tally.

Crosby did not have a point versus the Capitals, but notched an assist and the shootout winner versus the Sabres in 2008.

Crosby, the NHL's current season leader with 51 assists and 80 points, will make just his second career regular-season trip to Chicago. He last faced the Blackhawks as a rookie on Jan. 13, 2006.

Toews has four goals and an assist in five previous meetings with the Pens, including a hat trick on Feb. 27, 2009. He and Crosby are among several players in this game that won a gold medal with Team Canada at the recent Olympics. That list also includes Keith, Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz and Patrick Sharp of Chicago.

"It's kind of weird that it's taken this long," Crosby said of facing Toews. "I think I've been hurt for a few games, but I think just knowing that either we're going to go head-to-head or if not, I think that he's a guy who's pretty competitive.

"That whole group of guys that I've played with for the last few weeks are pretty competitive guys and have a lot of pride, so I'm sure they'll be up for this one. But yeah, going head-to-head against (Toews), I'm sure it'll be a good challenge."

Both the Pens and Blackhawks come into this meeting among the leaders in their respective conferences. Pittsburgh tops the East with 84 points, giving it a 15-point edge over the New York Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division, while Chicago is even with St. Louis atop the Central Division.

The Blackhawks, also with 84 points, are five back of the Anaheim Ducks for the most in the West and overall NHL standings.

Chicago has lost two straight games and is 3-4-3 in its past 10 games. The Blackhawks came out of the Olympic break with a 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Thursday.

Peter Regin scored with just 11.6 seconds left to play and Corey Crawford posted 22 saves for the Blackhawks, who now try to get on track among the elements and against a top-notch team in Pittsburgh.

"I'd say it's a great test for us," noted 'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "We're coming off a couple disappointing losses on the road. Finally be back and playing the home game and playing in this environment should make for a fun setting for everybody. There were some guys on the other team that definitely get your attention."

Crawford figures to get the start and it would be the second of his career versus the Pens. He made 24 saves in a 3-2 shootout win at home on Feb. 20, 2011.

Pittsburgh got a point in its first game following the Olympic hiatus, falling 6-5 in a shootout to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Crosby, James Neal, Olli Maatta and Brandon Sutter all had a goal and an assist, while Fleury stopped 24-of-29 shots faced before yielding the lone shootout tally.

Pittsburgh also lost in a shootout in its final game before the break and is 4-1-2 in its last seven. The Pens open a five-game road trip tonight.

Fleury is 4-1-2 with a 2.49 goals against average in his career versus the Blackhawks, who lost 3-2 in Pittsburgh in the most recent meeting between these teams on Dec. 20, 2011.

03/01 10:39:48 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
DET 106
DAL 117
Final
BOS 109
ORL 92
Final
MIA 87
UTA 105
Final
TOR 105
BRK 89
Final
SAN 116
MEM 117
Final
POR 104
MIL 97
Final
DEN 111
HOU 115
Final
LAC 102
IND 100
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
8:30pm Tonight
HOU
NOP
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
Final
UNCW 73
LIB 70
 
Final
LOYC 83
ABCHRIST 44
 
Final
MURST 94
ALCOR 56
 
Final
HOU 56
ARKPB 61
 
Final
NW 67
CMICH 80
Final
WKENT 75
CHIST 60
 
Final
ODU 58
UGST 54
Final
SMU 67
ILLCH 46
Final
LALAF 115
MLGN 76
 
Final
TULSA 74
MIZST 70
Final
UWGB 66
MORE 50
 
Final
NEOM 92
NCOL 82
 
Final
TTU 101
SCST 39
 
Final
DEN 83
TAMCC 73
 
Final
STEPH 66
TXST 60
 
Final
STLU 75
TXPA 69
 
Final
MEM 83
USCU 73
 
Final
ILLST 64
TENNM 54
 
Final
MSU 66
EMICH 46
Final
GRCN 80
INCWORD 82
 
Final
STAN 67
LMU 58
Final
BAY 66
NMST 55
 
Final
CIN 71
SDST 62
Final
AUB 80
WINT 62
 
Final
NMU 76
CARK 55
 
Final
PEPP 53
HOW 45
 
Final
CPSL 60
NE 58
 
Final
UNLV 75
PORT 73
Final
OREG 79
CSNO 56
Final
WASH 86
GRAM 38
12:30pm Today
RICE
STTHOMASTX
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
CLST
7:00pm Tonight
LIU
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STET
GSOUT
 
7:00pm Tonight
QUIN
LEH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SHU
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
SALA
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DEL
TEMPL
7:00pm Tonight
WCU
WRST
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
YALE
 
7:30pm Tonight
SDKST
IDST
 
7:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
LATU
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAR
APP
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
CCAR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
EUREK
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
OAKC
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
SMISS
 
8:30pm Tonight
SD
MNTST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UAB
LSU
9:05pm Tonight
EVAN
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
CSDH
 
10:00pm Tonight
ORST
DEP
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
NEV
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PORST
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
WALLA
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
Final
MIN 2
BOS 3
Final
VAN 0
DAL 2
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
ANA
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
 
8:25pm Tonight
JAC
TEN