LBC Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Florida Panthers

A well-rested Panthers squad has a chance to build their first winning streak of the season. The visiting Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks may have something to say about that.

It's GameDay!

Tonight, the Panthers will host the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center for the first of two meetings this season. They'll visit the Windy City for a rematch on December 8th. Florida will be playing the third game of a six-game homestand. They lost in the opener against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins, 3-2 on a last minute goal by Reilly Smith. They won their most recent contest, a 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild. Wild forward Jonas Brodin scored on the power play in the second period for the lone Minnesota goal. Aleksander Barkov got the Cats back into it with a power-play goal of his own midway through the third, with assists by Tomas Fleischmann and Brian Campbell. After a scoreless overtime, Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes each beat Josh Harding to win the shootout. Tim Thomas stopped both Chicago shootout attempts, and 30-of-31 shots through the first 65 minutes. After this matchup, the Panthers remain at home to host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, and the St. Louis Blues on November 1st.

Wild @ Panthers Highlights 10/19/13 (via NHL)

Chicago finished up a two-game homestand with a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues and a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They'll conclude a short road trip through Florida with a matchup against the Lightning on Thursday.

A Look Back

The last time the Blackhawks faced Florida was on January 20th, 2012. The visiting 21-14-10 Panthers were trying to avoid losing their fourth-straight match against the 28-13-6 Blackhawks. Down 3-0 early in the third period, Jason Garrison scored the only goal, his 13th of the season, for the Panthers on the power play. Jose Theodore allowed three goals on 22 shots for the loss.

The pretty stretch pass that Patrick Kane snapped off to set up a breakaway goal for Jonathan Toews was nice, but the wrist shot that he zipped past Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore on Friday night brought an even bigger smile.

It also brought Kane some needed relief after a seven-game goal-less drought had him feeling down and starting to wonder about his luck. The goal was just the 11th of the season for Kane, but it provided a nice three-goal cushion for his Chicago Blackhawks in a game they won 3-1 at the United Center in a game that was delayed by about 30 minutes because of bad weather. * Full Recap * Box Score


GameTime: 7:30 PM ET, FS-FLA, WQAM, LBC GameThread at 7:00

All-Time Record: Florida is 9-14-3-1 all-time against Chicago, a .407 success rate.

Season Series: First of two meetings


Florida Panthers: 3-6-0, .333, 6 points, on pace for 55 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 22nd in the NHL. Last five: W-L-L-L-W.

Chicago Blackhawks 5-1-2, .750, 12 points, on pace for 123 points. Second in the Central Division, tied for fourth in the Western Conference, tied for fifth in the NHL. Last five: W-W-W-O-W.

Common Thread

D Brian Campbell played three seasons in Chicago, scoring 19 goals with 98 assists, a plus-51 rating, and 46 PIM in 215 games.

C Tomas Kopecky scored 25 goals with 38 assists in 155 games, with a minus-13 rating and 88 PIM over two seasons.

RW Kris Versteeg played 170 games with the Blackhawks over three seasons, scoring 44 goals with 57 assists, a plus-22 rating, and 96 PIM.

All three helped Chicago win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

Panthers Milestones


Shawn Matthias will tie Niklas Hagman in 26th with his 263rd game played with the Panthers.


Marcel Goc will move into the all-time top 50 with his next goal, number 24, tying Dave Gagner. Tomas Kopecky will pass Mike Van Ryn into 48th with his 26th goal. Kris Versteeg tied Mike Hough and Gary Roberts in 45th with a goal last game, his 27th. Tomas Fleischmann currently has 40 goals, and will pass Juraj Kolnik into 28th with his next.


Matthias has 44 assists, tied with Jody Hull, Chris Gratton, and Ivan Novoseltsev in 46th. Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov each have 64 assists, If either of them get their 65th, they will tie captain Ed Jovanovski in 29th. Brian Campbell currently has 73 assists, in 21st place, and will move into the top 20 all-time with one more, tying Johan Garpenlov.


The unfortunately named Miroslav Satan of 363 career goals, mostly with the Buffalo Sabres, turns 39 today. Well-traveled goaltender Ron Tugnutt turns 46.

Probable Starting Lineups

Florida Panthers


Chicago Blackhawks


Panthers Leaders


Brad Boyes - 4, Marcel Goc, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau -3


Tomas Fleischmann - 7, Brian Campbell - 5, Aleksander Barkov, Scott Gomez - 3


Tomas Fleischmann - 8, Aleksander Barkov, Brad Boyes - 6


Nick Bjugstad - 54.2%, Marcel Goc - 51.5%, Jesse Winchester - 50.0%

Shots on Goal

Tomas Fleischmann - 28, Kris Versteeg - 24, Brad Boyes - 22

Penalty Minutes

Erik Gudbranson - 30, Dmitry Kulikov - 23, Jesse Winchester - 16


Mike Weaver - 24, Erik Gudbranson - 20, Tomas Fleischmann, Scotty Upshall - 13

Blocked Shots

Mike Weaver - 24, Erik Gudbranson - 19, Tom Gilbert - 15

If you're interested in more on tonight's matchup, check out Second City Hockey, and feel free to hang with us for the LBC GameThread at 7.