Competition continues as Penguins come to town

Competition continues as Penguins come to town
September 18, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

Tune in to Comcast SportsNet Chicago this evening to catch the Blackhawks back in action for the first time on TV since their Stanley Cup victory on June 24. Catch the excitement on CSN starting at 7 p.m.

The Blackhawks kicked their preseason off with a bang on Tuesday as they hosted the Red Wings just a few short months after their dramatic Game 7 finish during the Western Conference semifinals.

For Detroit's returning members, the trip back to the United Center hit a little close to home.

"It didn't feel like (Game 7) was that long ago, actually," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said following the Blackhawks' 2-0 win. "The crowd was pretty good today, too. It kind of felt like coming back into the playoffs."

[MORE: Preseason turnout illustrates Hawks' growth in Chicago]

Now the Blackhawks are looking to continue that intensity as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Plenty is still on the line for a number of Chicago's younger players, who are fighting for one of very few spots available on the Blackhawks' roster.

“It’s exciting to have an opportunity to make the team,” forward Jimmy Hayes said at the team's training camp. “You just have to give yourself the best opportunity and see where it goes from there.”

[RELATED: Five who have put themselves in good position for Hawks]

Toews vs. Crosby

Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby still have yet to face each other in the NHL, but it looks like the battle between the two captains will have to wait at least another few days.

Earlier in the week, coach Joel Quenneville said Toews most likely won't play in a preseason game until the weekend. However, per the Penguins' early roster release, Crosby is expected to lace up his skates tonight inside the United Center, marking the first time he will play in Chicago since his rookie season of 2006.

Looking ahead

Both teams will square off in one addition matchup on Sept. 23 before the regular season begins.

On March 1, the Penguins will be heading back to the Windy City to join the Blackhawks as they host their outdoor game at Soldier Field. The second and final regular-season meeting between these two teams will take place in Pittsburgh on March 30.