Game Preview: Blackhawks vs. Penguins
Throughout the 2011 preseason, chicagoblackhawks.com will preview each game with players to watch, notes and more.
The Blackhawks finish off their 2011 preseason home slate with a tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
TIME: 7:30 p.m. CT
VENUE: United Center
BROADCAST INFO: CSN / WGN Radio
Three Stars (Players to watch):
Ray Emery: Free agent invitee Emery will get to make his case for the No. 2 goalie spot, as he will get the start in net for Chicago and is expected to play the entire game. Emery has made appearances in two games so far this preseason, splitting each with fellow backup spot contender Alexander Salak. The 29-year-old goaltender went 7-2-0 in 10 apperances with Anaheim last season.
Patrick Kane: Kane made his preseason debut - at a new position, to boot - and quickly reminded Blackhawks fans just how explosive he could be. Teamed with Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa on his wings, Kane scored a goal, added an assist and gave himself and his linemates several nice looks at the net. Kane will get at least one more night at center Friday, said Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville, who also noted the chemistry Kane's line had developed in very little practice time.
Duncan Keith: Duncs did it all Wednesday night: not only did Keith lead the Blackhawks in ice time and score three assists, but he also spent more time on special teams than any other Blackhawk. Assuming he is on the roster for Friday's game, he will certainly get his fair share of time against Pittsburgh's top line.
Rising Star (Must-watch prospect): With injuries to Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith, the chances for a young forward prospect to make the Blackhawks' opening-night roster have grown. Depending who Joel Quenneville and his staff choose to go with on Friday, Brandon Saad, Brandon Pirri and Marcus Kruger may get a chance to show the coaches what they've got.
Know the enemy (Opponent Report): The Penguins are 4-0-0 on the preseason, including three on home ice. No roster has been released, but according to pittsburghpenguins.com, Evgeni Malkin was centering the Pens' top line with James Neal and Steve Sullivan, who may return from injury Friday night in Chicago.
Fun Fact: The Blackhawks' attendance of 20,078 on Wednesday was the team's second-largest crowd for an exhibition game in franchise history. The record was set Sept. 25, 2010 against Detroit, with a crowd of 20,553.