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Penguins hold off Blackhawks 4-2 to improve to 5-0-0 in pre-season

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CHICAGO - Steve Sullivan, Matt Cooke, Joe Vitale and Evgeni Malkin scored, and the Pittsburgh Penguins held on to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Friday night to remain perfect in pre-season play.

Brent Johnson stopped 35 shots for the Penguins (5-0-0).

Rookie Brandon Pirri scored two goals for the Blackhawks (2-3-1) and Ray Emery—competing for the backup job with rookie Alexander Salak, started and stopped 15 shots.

Sullivan, who signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent and was nursing a groin injury during training camp, also had an assist in his pre-season debut.

Vitale made it 3-0 with about 7 1/2 minutes to go in the second period, sliding a loose puck between Emery's left skate and the post.

Pirri's power-play goal with 42 seconds left in the second cut it to 3-1. He pulled Chicago within a goal midway through the third as he took a pass from Bryan Bickell in front of the crease and spun a backhand shot past Johnson.

Malkin fired a power-play goal into an empty net with 42 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.

Sullivan made it 1-0 on a power-play goal with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the first period as his screened shot from the top of the left circle slipped past Emery on the stick side.

Emery's clearing pass set up a short-handed goal by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke at 7:19 of the second. Emery came far out of the net to fire the puck away from onrushing Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis, and banked it off the boards to centre ice. The puck landed on Cooke's stick and he fired it from the red line into an empty net before Emery could get back.

NOTES: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said rookie RW Ben Smith is out day-to-day. Smith took a shoulder to the head from Detroit rookie D Brendan Smith in the third period of a game in Chicago on Wednesday. Brendan Smith, who received a match penalty on the play, was suspended by the NHL on Friday for the remainder of the pre-season and the first five games of the regular season. Chicago LW Viktor Stalberg will miss three weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Wednesday against Detroit.



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