Game Day Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Florida Panthers

Florida: 26-31-9 (61PTS)
Chicago: 37-23-6 (80PTS)
Season Series: 0-0-0

"See the Blueprint in Action!" The Panthers host the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that the Panthers organization is advertising heavily as a homecoming of sorts for Dale Tallon's blueprint. The team is also apparently throwing a party for away fans, something that once again doesn't sit too well with many of the home fans. Former Panthers forward Michael Frolik will be looking to pull a Cory Stillman and help his team put away the Cats tonight. If he is unable to do so, he'll get another scratch at it in a couple of weeks when the Panthers visit Chicago.

Last meeting: The Panthers last played the Blackhawks in the season opener in Helsinki, Finland. The teams split the two games, with the Panthers winning the first game in a shootout and losing the second 4-0.

Last game: The Panthers lost in overtime to the Washington Capitals after David Booth's goal tied the game at 2 halfway through the third period. Despite playing with a depleted lineup, the Cats were active early, outshooting the Caps 16-6 in the opening period. By the end of the game, the shots were far more even, but the Panthers had quality chances in all three periods and played well defensively for most of the game, barring Keaton Ellerby's interference on his own goaltender to set up the Capitals mid-game lead.

Notes: Forward Tim Kennedy, placed on re-entry waivers yesterday after the AHL roster freeze, has cleared and will play in tonight's game. Kennedy will replace Kenndal McArdle, who was returned to Rochester.

Injuries: Alexander Sulzer (day to day), unknown (3/5/2011), Ryan Carter (day to day), upper-body injury (2/12/2011). Evgeni Dadonov (IR), broken finger, out at least a month (3/3/2011). Jack Skille (day to day), High ankle sprain, unknown (2/23/2011). Shawn Matthias (IR), broken ankle, out 6-8 weeks (1/31/2011). Rostislav Olesz, knee, out for the season (2/25/2011). Byron Bitz (IR), sports hernia, out for the season.

Starting goaltenders: Corey Crawford will start for Chicago, while Tomas Vokoun will start for the Panthers. Vokoun is 11-11-4 in his career against the Blackhawks and 7-3-0 in his last 10.

Lines: These are the forward lines from the morning skate. Kennedy will probably take McArdle's place on the third line, or Scott Timmins could be moved up and to the wing, so Kennedy can play center.

Bergfors - Weiss - Samsonov
Booth - Reasoner - Repik
McArdle - Santorelli - Bernier
Hordichuk - Timmins - Thomas

The defensive pairings from last game will probably not change:


This will probably be another close heartbreaker that will put the Panthers one step closer to the first overall draft pick. The Blackhawks are a solid team that has had some problems this season, but have gotten it together and are riding an 8 game win streak.

More from our Chicago cohorts at Second City Hockey

Blackhawks vs Panthers coverage at

TSN Preview here.