Along the boards: Blackhawks down Panthers  3-2 in the shootout

  

The Blackhawks continued their Florida road trip Saturday evening, taking on the Panthers in Sunrise, with an early 6PM Eastern start.

For the Hawks at this point, these games are all about finishing the year strong, and making more positive plays than mistakes, and giving experience to their young players, as they look toward the offseason.

The Blackhawks lines and pairings were:

Brandon Saad  Jonathan Toews  Dominik Kubalik
Alex Nylander  Dylan Strome Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat Kirby Dach  Drake Caggiula
Matthew Highmore  David Kampf Ryan Carpenter

Duncan Keith Adam Boqvist
Slater Koekkoek  Olli Maatta
Lucas Karlsson  Connor Murphy

 

Corey Crawford manned the net for Chicago, and Sergei Bobrovsky for Florida.

FIRST PERIOD

The game started in typical fashion, but at 4:07, Panthers forward Mike Hoffman jumped a lackadaisical pass by Brandon Saad, generated some speed to get in wide and basically mesmerized Corey Crawford, easily tapping the puck in on a wide open side. 1–0 Florida.

At 6:26, Mackenzie Weegar took a holding penalty. The Panthers successfully blocked some Hawks’ shots before Saad made a nifty individual play with about 20 seconds left in the man-advantage to get open in close—hitting the pipe on a glorious chance. The Hawks failed to convert.

However, Saad got his redemption at 12:54, when he and Dominik Kubalik came in on a 2-on-1, causing the Florida skaters to collapse in deep as the initial shot went to the end boards. Kubalik then alertly found a wide open Adam Boqvist in the slot, who walked it in then adeptly found Jonathan Toews at the doorstep, who put it home. 1–1.

Barely 30 seconds later, at 13:26, Jonathan Huberdeau took a hooking penalty. Again, Florida killed the penalty.

Erik Haula then took a high sticking penalty at 17:13. And again, Florida proved up tot eh challenge. The period ended with shots favoring Chicago 11–4.

SECOND PERIOD

Both teams had some pressure early on. Crawford made a strong save on a nice Evgeny Dadonov shot in close at 5:20, which was part of a flurry of Panther chances during this stretch.

Drake Caggiula (aka “Dat Gritty Little Caligula”) registered a goal, when he tipped home a Connor Murphy blast at 6:21—all of which was basically set up by the strength and tenacity of Toews, who owned the puck down low for several seconds before kicking it out to Murphy at the right point. 2–1 Chicago.

At 8:09, Olli Maatta took the first Hawk penalty of the night, which was killed. But then as soon as that was killed, Duncan Keith was whistled at 10:13. Despite a couple of great Florida chances, Chicago was able to kill this one off as well.

The Panthers put on some strong, sustained pressure at around the 18:00 minute mark against the Hawks’ fourth line. But Crawford and some selfless shot blocks by the Chicago skaters maintained the team’s lead. Shots for the period were 15–13 Florida.

THIRD PERIOD

Kirby Dach took a high sticking minor at 1:11, which the Hawks successfully killed off.  Florida really poured it on in the third period, outshooting Chicago 17–2. Florida’s pressure finally paid off when Mike Matheson scored from the right circle at 18:32.

Regulation ended at a 2–2 tie, pushing the game to OT.

OVERTIME

In the 3-on-3 OT, both teams had excellent chances, with Boqvist hitting the crossbar in the third minute of OT. Both Crawford and Sergei Bobrovsky were excellent in OT.

With an impending offensive zone faceoff at the 4:36 mark of OT, Florida head coach Joel Quenneville took a timeout to try to diagram a play. But Florida came up short, and so the game would be decided by a shootout.

SHOOTOUT

In the shootout, Crawford stopped two attempts, and Toews and Patrick Kane buried theirs. Game: Chicago.

Overall a pretty good effort by Chicago—good enough anyway to beat a Florida team clawing for a playoff spot in their own building.

THREE STARS

  1. Jonathan Toews
  2. Corey Crawford
  3. Mike Matheson

 

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