The Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers completed their home-and-home series on Thursday night in front of a mostly full house at BB&T Center. Roberto Luongo made 26 saves, but the Panthers couldn't solve Corey Crawford on 20 shots. The Blackhawks marched out with a 3-0 victory.
The first period would see the Panthers outshot, 10-to-4. The Hawks would take their lead with the eventual game-winner just 3:08 into the frame, when Teuvo Teravainen (coincidentally Patrick Kane's replacement - Karma?) beat a slightly surprised Luongo with a stuff in off a scramble in front. It was a mess, but the scorer determined that David Rundblad and Andrew Shaw were to be awarded assists on the play. It was Teravainen's third goal of the year. Despite being outplayed, the Panthers did beat down Chicago pretty good, outhitting them 21-to-7. Jimmy Hayes led with four, while Scottie Upshall and Alex Petrovic had three apiece. Vincent Trocheck won four of his six faceoff attempts. Jonathan Toews was automatic in the dot, winning nine-of-10.
In the second, the Panthers failed to record a single shot on goal until 11 minutes had passed. A flurry of activity around Crawford's crease at that point led to the Cats actually leading in that category through the frame, 9-to-8, but the only marker recorded would belong to Chicago's Brandon Saad, his 19th. Assists were given to Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith on the play, giving the bad guys a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead. Florida again won the physical aspect, with 19 hits to 11 for the Hawks, led by six from Hayes. Toews continued to impress in the faceoff circle, winning a hard-to-believe 16-of-19 overall.
The final 20 minutes would see the Panthers make a valiant effort, but sloppy blue line passing and missed opportunities proved too much for them to overcome. They mustered seven shots on Crawford, to 10 for Chicago. The Hawks put a cherry on top when Toews parked the biscuit in a vacated net for his 19th of the campaign. Hossa and Saad each earned their second points of the night with assists. One development (not counted amongst the shots on goal) would see Jonathan Huberdeau slide the puck right through Crawford's crease, behind Crawford, with four minutes remaining. It was just plain bad puck luck that the play didn't earn the Panthers a fighting chance in the closing minutes.
- Dmitry Kulikov had the honor of being the only player on ice for all three goals. His minus-3 rating is not reflective of his efforts. He did block four shots on the night.
- Garrett Wilson and Aaron Ekblad led the Panthers with four shots on goal each.
- On the second goal, Keith slid the puck right through Nick Bjugstad's skates. Not the big guy's best effort.
- Petrovic, who a lot of Chicago fans blame for the loss of Patrick Kane, did not skate with any hesitation, leveling four opponents on the night. He also recorded three blocked shots.
- The flip side of Toews night in the circle (21-of-28) was Florida's 36% success rate. Chief among Florida's troubles there were Derek MacKenzie (four-of-14) and Aleksander Barkov (four-of-13). The seemingly always impressive Vincent Trocheck won seven-of-11.