Strong Performance By Darling Not Enough To Win Preseason Opener

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Scott Darling #33 of the Chicago Blackhawks follows the action against the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on April 5, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Coyotes 6-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Scott King @ScottKingMedia

It was scoreless through two periods between a young Hawks lineup and a young Penguins lineup at the United Center on Wednesday. That was mostly because of Scott Darling’s performance in net.

Darling had a strong first two periods saving all 26 of the Pens’ shots, 23 of which came in the second period. The Blackhawks led in shots after one period 13-3, including leading 8-0 through the first half of the opening period, before Pittsburgh answered back. Penguin winger Chris Kunitz scored two goals in the third period and Pittsburgh went on to win 2-0.

“The more [shots] the better right now, I guess,” said Darling on his 33-save performance Wednesday night. “It was a fun game, it was a good game. I thought we played well too. Their goalie played well and Kunitz had two nice goals.”

The Blackhawks had trouble getting anything going offensively in the second and third periods, mostly because of the time they spent in the box.

Forward Richard Panik was noticeable again. He had the puck a lot and was able to set up several nice plays.

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Blackhawks forward Jordin Tootoo and Penguins forward Tom Sestino dropped the gloves early in the first period. The Hawks got a power play out of the scrap as Sestino got hit for instigating.

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