LIVE: Sharp scores No. 34, Hawks trail 3-2

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LIVE: Sharp scores No. 34, Hawks trail 3-2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
11:15 a.m.

Associated Press
An end to the Chicago Blackhawks' longest winning streak of the season slowed their pursuit of the lead in the Central Division.

A season-worst skid to start this month has cost the Tampa Bay Lightning their place atop the Southeast.

After their first loss in nine games, the Blackhawks will try to get back on track with their 11th win in 14 games against the Lightning on Wednesday night.

Chicago (37-24-6) was one win shy of matching the longest streak in franchise history, and six points behind Detroit in the Central heading into Tuesday's game against Florida.

The Blackhawks couldn't take advantage of the last-place Panthers, and had their eight-game run snapped as they gave up three first-period goals in a 3-2 loss.

Corey Crawford, who was making his 12th consecutive start in goal, was pulled after the opening 20 minutes, and Marty Turco was barely challenged in relief. Chicago got within one as Marian Hossa extended his point streak to eight games, but it couldn't find the equalizer despite a 29-7 shots advantage over the final two periods.

"I've been around a while and I don't know if I've ever seen a bigger lesson to be learned than I did tonight," Turco said. "Whatever it is we thought to ourselves or did, changed after one period. It was one heck of a wake-up call.

"The way we played (the last two periods) was unreal, but sometimes it's disappointing. Why can't we play like that all the time?"

A night earlier, the Lightning were left scratching their heads for a different reason. They couldn't figure out Washington rookie goaltender Braden Holtby in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Capitals, who now lead the Southeast.

Sean Bergenheim scored in the first period and Tampa Bay (37-21-8) stayed there for much of the game thanks to a strong effort from Dwayne Roloson in net. The Lightning, though, gave up the tying goal with 5:32 remaining in regulation, and couldn't get any of their three shots past Holtby in the tiebreaker.

Tampa Bay also had some bad luck as Vincent Lecavalier's third-period goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference.

The fourth straight defeat pushed the Lightning two points behind the Capitals in the division. Tampa Bay's 0-3-1 slump is its longest since a five-game skid last March 14-21.

"It's been a tough week, week and a half. That's why we have to battle and persist," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's easy to persist when things go easy. Now, they're just not turning our way."

Recent games against Chicago usually haven't gone Tampa Bay's way either as it's 2-9-1 with two ties in the last 14 matchups. The Blackhawks have outscored the Lightning 14-4 in the last three, including last season's 4-0 win at the United Center.

Jonathan Toews, who had a nine-game point streak snapped Tuesday, has registered four goals and an assist in those games. Patrick Kane, who is on a six-game point streak, has contributed two goals and five assists.

The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 with one tie in their last five trips to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

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AP

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

PITTSBURGH – There are certain trends through which the Blackhawks tend to go sometimes. They can be so-so against teams on the bubble or out of the postseason. But face a playoff-bound team and the Blackhawks usually come with a top-notch game.

Exhibit A on that came on Wednesday.

Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane each had two-point nights, and Marian Hossa scored his 25th of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Penguins 5-1 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a three-game winless streak and now have a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the West.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots. Richard Panik scored his 22nd goal of the season. Bryan Rust had the Penguins' lone goal at 5:46 of the third.

The Penguins, much like the Blackhawks, entered this one with 103 points. The Penguins were without several injured players, including Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Trevor Daley. Still, it's the Penguins, and you can never take them lightly.

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The Blackhawks got the early lead, then really pounced in the final five-plus minutes of the first period. The Blackhawks got stellar set-up passes from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz and finishes to accompany them. Two of their goals (Marcus Kruger and Hossa) came in the final minute of the first period for that 4-0 lead.

The Penguins had the first six shots of the third but the Blackhawks would score on their first of the period when Tanner Kero, taking the turnover from Justin Schultz, finished on a breakaway.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)