Things are starting to look up for the Blackhawks and their penalty killers.
After struggling for most of the season, the Hawks are on a roll and on Saturday went 6-for-6 in kills in their 5-1 win over Pittsburgh at Soldier Field.
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Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleasantly surprised with the success against the NHL's best power play.
"Usually when you give a team that many power-play looks, they're going to find a way," Quenneville said. "I thought our penalty killing was outstanding. I think we got some help (from the snow) knowing their crispness and the way they can make plays with their patience with the puck. It was certainly challenged with the snow and all that. But I thought the pressure and getting on them quickly was a real good job by us."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wasn't using the adverse conditions caused by the heavy snow as an excuse.
"You know, tonight a lot of the power plays, they were fortunate if you just got the ice scrapes," Bylsma said. "If you didn't get the ice scrapes, some of the passes that you saw, back to our point and "D" to "D" for our players, that was as hard and as adamant as they could pass the puck just because of that. So it was a little different type of scenario for the power play, execution-wise."
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday he probably wasn't going to be active before Wednesday's trade deadline because he made his big move in November when he acquired winger Kris Versteeg from Florida.
Versteeg had a goal in Saturday's win and has proved to be a valuable addition.
"Kris has been really good for us," Bowman said. "We talked at the time of the deal that he gives us versatility. We like that he can play all around our lineup, and he's done that so far.
"I think we've utilized that he can play in different situations. He's played on the power play, so he gets some special-teams time. Now that he has been around us for a while, he fits in good. Certainly he's got some chemistry with Patrick (Kane). They're both creative players who can make plays."
Goodbye to Kostka, Pirri:
Stan Bowman admitted that he was trying to get defenseman Mike Kostka to Rockford when he was claimed on waivers by Tampa Bay last week.
"Having eight defensemen all year made it challenging for the coaches to try and get everyone ice time," Bowman said. "It was tough for Mike to get his game going. The intention was to try to get him down to Rockford and give ourselves more flexibility.
"Obviously, you don't want to lose a player on waivers, but that is the rules we play under. You have to expose them."
On Sunday night, the Hawks sent Brandon Pirri, who was playing for Rockford, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round choice in the 2014 NHL entry draft and a fifth-round selection in the 2016 entry draft.