Final

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Chicago leads 1-0

Game 1: Friday, January 13th
Penguins1Final
Blackhawks4

Penguins 1

(11-24-9, 31 pts)

Blackhawks 4

(15-25-4, 34 pts)

8:30 PM ET, January 13, 2006

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 0 01
CHI 3 0 14

A. Hilbert (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

A. Munro (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 28, Save Pct.: .966

P. Sharp (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Blackhawks hand Pens 5th straight loss

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks found a team struggling more than they are.

Andy Hilbert scored twice and rookie Adam Munro stopped 28 shots as the Blackhawks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 Friday night. Radim Vrbata and Martin Lapointe also scored for Chicago, which has won two of three following a 10-game losing streak.

Colby Armstrong scored for the Penguins, who lost their fifth straight. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves.

Hilbert recorded his first multiple-goal game in the NHL after entering play with six goals in 50 games. He scored Chicago's first two goals as the Blackhawks got out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.

"Just getting a quick start in front of this big crowd was huge for us," Hilbert said. "The confidence gets going right down the line and the young guys have to bring some energy."

Hilbert was acquired from Boston on Nov. 5 and recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Dec 1. He missed training camp because of a contract dispute and has needed time to adjust to the speed of the NHL.

Chicago coach Trent Yawney benched Hilbert six times in seven games from Dec. 23 to Jan. 8, but the forward has three goals in his last two contests.

"I feel like I've just got to get more confidence and more comfortable out there," Hilbert said. "Hopefully it will snowball from there."

Playing before the Blackhawks' third sellout crowd this season, Munro made his second start of the season and ninth career since being recalled from Norfolk on Dec. 29. Top goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has missed eight games because of a groin pull.

"They (Hilbert and Munro) played well," Yawney said. "Especially early, Adam made some big saves and it was nice to see Andy get a couple of goals. He's worked hard. Anytime you can get guys like that chipping in goals it helps, when you can score by committee."

Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said Munro's work blunted any offensive energy the Penguins could generate.

"We got some quality scoring chances," Therrien said. "Munro did make some key saves. It could have switched the momentum.

"When a team struggles like we're doing right now, I think intention is there, but we're a fragile team. It seems when we face adversity our mental toughness has not been there."

The Blackhawks scored three goals in a period for the sixth time this season and led 3-1 after 20 minutes.

Hilbert opened the scoring 6:15 in when he lofted in a rebound of his initial shot from left wing.

Hilbert made it 2-0 with 8:25 left in the first when he skated out of the right corner unchallenged by Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney. He cut to the front of the net and beat Fleury with a high shot

Vrbata's power-play goal just over a minute later extended Chicago's lead to 3-0. He ripped a shot past Fleury from the slot after taking a cross-ice feed from Kyle Calder.

Armstrong got credit for a power-play goal with 4:02 left in the period that cut it to 3-1.

Munro stopped Ziggy Palffy's close-in shot from the left side, but the rebound popped into the slot and deflected into the net off Chicago defenseman Jim Vandermeer.

Lapointe's power-play goal midway through the third made it 4-1.

Game notes


The crowd of 20,541 was the Blackhawks' third sellout this season. ... Chicago D Adrian Aucoin missed the game with his third groin pull of the season. ... Blackhawks C Curtis Brown sat out with a strained knee. ... Chicago C Mikael Holmqvist was a healthy scratch. ... Khabibulin has resumed taking shots in practice. ... Pittsburgh D Dick Tarnstrom and LW Andre Roy were healthy scratches.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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