Brandon Pirri took the slick feed from Marian Hossa and turned it into an equally slick goal. It was a nice exclamation point for a rookie, and a nice souvenir puck – if he can find it.
“I don’t even know where it is,” Pirri said with a laugh. “I guess (someone grabbed it). A lot of guys were asking if it was my first.”
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Yes, it was, and it gave the Blackhawks a lead for a few minutes, anyway, before they fell to the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in the shootout. For Pirri, who played mostly on the third line on Thursday night, it was reason to celebrate. Although that celebration would have been stronger if the Blackhawks won.
“It’s bittersweet that we didn’t get the win,” Pirri said. “But I waited a long time for that.”
Pirri came off a disappointing training camp. Disappointing, mainly, in the fact that he got hurt, was sidelined for over a week and couldn’t show enough at the end to earn a spot on the Blackhawks’ opening-day roster. Pirri returned to Rockford, obviously stinging.
“Everyone in Rockford was disappointed (they didn’t make the team). It’s everyone’s dream to play here,” he said. “But I went down there, they told me to have a good attitude and to be ready when it’s your time.”
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Pirri got recalled from Rockford last week while Jimmy Hayes was reassigned to the IceHogs. Pirri does give the Blackhawks another center option, something they’re usually short on and could use more of, especially if Michal Handzus isn’t an everyday player. This is an opportunity for Pirri, a second chance to make something stick after his lower-body injury hurt his training-camp chances.
Now he has to do something with it.
“This is big for me,” he said. “I want to make an impression. Not playing a lot of training camp was tough. But I knew if I worked hard, I’d get another opportunity. And I have to make the most of it.”
Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t comment much on the hit Barret Jackman put on Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks right winger was hit from behind and hit the side of his head along the boards. Kane stayed in the game, however, going on the Blackhawks’ power play a few seconds later.
“I haven’t looked at it, really,” Quenneville said. “I have to look at it more.”
- Niklas Hjalmarsson earned his team-high fifth assist on Marian Hossa’s breakaway goal.
- Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw each had a team-high six hits tonight.
- Marian Hossa recorded a team-high five shots on goal.