Recap: Slow start dooms Panthers in 4-2 loss to Blackhawks

Cats turn it on in the third, but come up short

The Florida Panthers ventured out of the Eastern Conference for the first time this season and got doubled-up 4-2 by the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

Florida fell behind 2:57 into the game after Colin White took a penalty for goalie interference. Tyler Johnson tipped Patrick Kane’s pass to Taylor Raddysh and he entered the zone on the right side and smacked the puck by Sergei Bobrovsky. Nifty zone entry by the Blackhawks.

A wide-open Kane made it a two-goal game at 19:37 when he received a feed from Andreas Athanasiou in the right circle and solved Bobrovsky on the blocker side. Max Domi drew the secondary assist on the play.

The Blackhawks got the only goal of the middle frame at 15:58 when Phillip Kurashev took a pass from MacKenzie Entwistle and worked his way around a gimpy Gustav Forsling, who had just taken a Kane blast in the skate and beat Bobrovksy with a pretty finish. The second assist on the goal went to Seth Jones.

Florida finally got one by Alex Stalock with 8:28 remaining in the third. Anton Lundell threw the puck on net and Colin White knocked it away from the keeper before Eetu Luostarinen fired it in for his third of the season.

Matthew Tkachuk bagged his fourth of the campaign 75 seconds later to cut the deficit to one. With the Cats pressuring down low, Carter Verhaeghe got the puck back to Brandon Montour at the point and Tkachuk redirected his shot home.

Jonathan Toews would deliver the Chelsea dagger with 23 seconds left, outracing Samson Reinhart to Jason Dickinson’s clear and stuffing it into the empty net via wraparound.

The Panthers were done in by a large part due to their failure on special teams. Florida went 0 for 6 on the power play, including a 5-on-3 for 1:35 midway through the second, and despite only giving Chicago two power-play chances, they yielded a goal on the first opportunity and Kurashev’s marker came just four seconds after a holding call on Tkachuk expired. Getting tired of harping on it, but Aleksander Barkov (5 shots) and Sam Reinhart (1 shot) went a seventh-straight game without scoring a goal. Yikes! The brief road trip concludes Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, who like the Blackhawks, are playing much better than expected.

Bows & Arrows

  • Patrick Kane’s first period goal was his 800th even-strength point. He is the third active player to reach the mark, joining Sidney Crosby (896) and Alex Ovechkin (879), and the third player in Blackhawks history, along with Stan Mikita (987) and Bobby Hull (806).
  • In addition to his assist, Brandon Montour logged a game-high 28:26 of ice time and registered two shots on goal and a hit.
  • Florida’s defense limited the Blackhawks to 21 shots on goal. Kane had four of them.
  • Chicago won 58% of the game’s faceoffs and out-hit the Cats 29-17.
  • A shout-out to Phil Kessel, who played his 990th consecutive NHL game, breaking the record held by former Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, and scored his 400th NHL goal last night.
  • After starting 0-2, the Blackhawks win over the Panthers was its fourth straight. Read more about it at Second City Hockey./