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LBC GameDay Caterwaul: Blackhawks at Panthers

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Game 47: Is Ekblad truly the missing piece? Wunderkind blueliner makes his return vs Hawks

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks (32-14-4 68P) at Florida Panthers (26-15-5 57P)

  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET - LBC GameThread right here at 7ish
  • WHERE: BB&T Center - Miami Ft Lauderdale Sunrise, FL
  • TICKETS: Single Game via the Club

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  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 2 of 2 (0-1)
  • ALL-TIME vs CHI: 9W-17L-3T 0OTL 3SOL 73GF 109GA
  • ALL-TIME at FLA: 4W-8L-1T 0OTL 2SOL 29GF 52GA
  • LAST FIVE vs CHI: 0-3-2 8GF 18GA

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  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Luongo (19-13-4 .927/2.17 3SO), Darling (5-3-2 .915/2.45 0SO)
  • JAGR WATCH: All-time vs CHI (regular season): 30GP 14G-14A 28P 2GWG
  • PLAYER STATS: FloridaChicago

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Notable:

Off-ice biz first: the Palm Beach Post is covering the Cats on a regular basis after a long absence, which makes good business sense, as the Panthers draw heavily from Palm Beach County. So in addition to longtimers George Richards and Harvey Fialkov - of the Miami Herald & South Florida Sun-Sentinel, respectively - give the Post's Matt Porter a follow on the Tweets right here. Welcome to the party, sir! Onward...D Aaron Ekblad (upper body) will return to the lineup after being roughed out of an eventual 2-1 victory in Edmonton on January 10; coincidentally-but-probably-not, the Panthers are without a win since, going 0-3-1 with three straight-up losses in a row. The still-19 year old is 9-10-19 with a club-dominating plus-17 in 42 appearances this season...D Erik Gudbranson is expected to be on the roster as well...D Willie Mitchell is "likely" to miss this weekend's games per the Herald...D Dylan Olsen is back with the Cats after a recent recall from AHL Portland...For the latest on sidelined F Dave Bolland, here ya go...Tampa Bay defeated Chicago last night on home ice to halt the Blackhawks' winning streak at 12 games, equaling Florida's recent run; the Lightning, tomorrow's opponent in Sunrise, are themselves on a 7-game stretch of victories...Hawks F Patrick Kane: 30-42-72P - and a plus-25 - in 50 games this season.

NHL.com Preview:

Forward Jiri Sekac, acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday for forward Ryan Garbutt, is expected to make his Chicago debut. It's unknown whether recently acquired forward Richard Panik will get back into the lineup Friday. Panik overslept Thursday and missed the morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville made him a healthy scratch. (More)

Yahoo.com Preview:

[The Blackhawks] beat Florida 3-2 in Chicago on Oct. 22, with Patrick Kane scoring a key power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period and assisting on the first two scores. The league leader with 72 points, Kane has six goals and 11 assists in his last 10 games versus the Panthers (26-15-5). Seeking a career-high 31st goal, Kane faces a Florida team that's been outscored 16-5 over an 0-3-1 stretch since its franchise-best 12-game winning streak concluded. Monday's 4-2 loss to Edmonton ended a team-record seven-game home win streak. (More)

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Last game for the Cats: 4-2 home loss to Edmonton on Monday. Past five: 1-3-1 7GF 17GA (streak: 4L)

Last game for da Hawks: 2-1 regulation loss at Tampa Bay last night. Past five: 4-1-0 16GF 7GA (streak: 1L)

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Friday in the Atlantic Division (Standings / Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • DETROIT (23-15-8 54P) at BUFFALO (19-24-4 42P), 7:00 NHLN
  • NY Islanders (24-15-6 54P) at OTTAWA (22-19-6 50P), 7:30
  • Idle: TBL (56P), BOS (53P), MTL (50P), TOR (42P)

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Panthers, SoFla Media & Loyal Opposition on the Tweets

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