Rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped all 41 shots and Patrick Kane contributed a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0, sending the Cats to a season-high third straight loss.
The 25-year-old Lankinen is the first Blackhawks rookie to have a 40-plus save shutout in the long history of the franchise.
Chicago solved Sergei Bobrovsky twice on 20 shots, with both goals coming in the second period. Bobrovsky has dropped three straight starts after a six-game winning streak.
Kane opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 1:05 mark, when he put in a loose puck after Bobrovsky stopped Adam Boqvist’s initial shot and then denied subsequent scrambling whacks by Bandon Hagel and Carl Soderberg before Kane was finally able to finish.
Pius Sutter deftly converted the rebound of Alex DeBrincat’s shot off his skate and stick 2:29 later after Kane sent the speedy pair into the Florida zone on a 2-on-1 break.
Hagel would complete the scoring into an empty net from Connor Murphy with 1:24 left in the third period.
A frustrating affair for the Panthers, who peppered Lankinen with 30 shots over the first two period, but couldn’t finish off their prime scoring chances. Lankinen made a shorthanded breakaway save on Anthony Duclair look easy and he also denied Jonathan Huberdeau on a 3-on-0 break late in the second period. Owen Tippett registered a career-high 9 shots on goal, yet couldn’t dent the twine. Ugh... It was that kind of night. Florida has gone cold offensively. Despite producing over 40 shots three times, they’ve scored just 8 goals over the past five games. The only win among that quintet required a shutout from Chris Driedger. The Cats are off to Dallas and will look to salvage this road trip with a win, or perhaps two, over the middling Stars.
Bows & Arrows
- The Panthers have lost three consecutive games in regulation for the first time since February 6 – February 10, 2020.
- Aaron Ekblad led the Cats with 26:13 time on ice and registered a personal season-high seven shots on goal.
- The Panthers out-hit Chicago 36-32, led by Radko Guda and MacKenzie Weegar’s five. Gudas has dished out 16 hits over his past two games.
- Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik had a six-game point streak come to an end.
- Alex Wennberg won 13 of his 19 faceoffs and logged 21:58 TOI, tops among the team’s forward brigade.
- For more on Chicago’s second straight win over the Panthers, visit Second City Hockey.