Corey Crawford made 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane had a goal and assist each to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-0 win against the Panthers at the United Center on Wednesday night.
Viktor Stalberg and Tomas Kopecky also scored for Chicago, which got two assists each from Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Crawford, who made his 18th straight start, faced only a few tough chances as he posted his fifth NHL shutout.
"We didn't try to force anything against a team looking for that," Crawford said. "We played a tight game, waiting for them to push the offense. We capitalized on that."
Tomas Vokoun stopped 27 shots, but the Panthers were shut out for the second straight night. Florida opened a season-high, five-game road trip with a 1-0 loss at New York on Tuesday.
"I know people look at the end result, but I thought we had a much better effort tonight than we did against the Rangers," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "We played hard tonight.
"You're not going to win any games unless you score a goal, and that's been our problem here for a few games now."
The Blackhawks played their first game without leading goal-scorer Patrick Sharp, who is expected to miss at least two weeks with an injured left knee. Sharp, injured in a collision at Phoenix on Sunday, has 34 goals and 34 assists in 71 games. With Sharp out, Stalberg joined Toews and Patrick Kane on Chicago's top line.
Stephen Weiss, who leads the Panthers with 49 points, sat out his second game with an injured leg.
Chicago outshot Florida 12-8 in the scoreless first period. Troy Brouwer had the Blackhawks' best chance when he jumped on a rebound of Seabrook's shot, but lofted the puck on top of the net.
Aided by three power plays, the Blackhawks picked up the pressure in the second and outshot Florida 12-5. Early in the period, Vokoun made several close-in saves, including two against former Panther Michael Frolik and one on Marian Hossa.
Seabrook opened the scoring with 5:19 left in the second during Chicago's third advantage of the period. He fired a low one-timer past Vokoun from the left circle after taking a feed from Keith.
"I thought the 'D' did a good job of limiting their shots, and the forwards had great back-pressure," Seabrook said. "It was a great team effort."
The Blackhawks broke it open with three goals in the third.
Stalberg made it 2-0 just 46 seconds in. Left open at the right edge of the crease, he took Toews' cross-crease feed and fired a shot that struck Vokoun and continued past him.
Kane extended Chicago's lead to 3-0 with 7:56 remaining. He partially fanned on a shot from the right circle, but the attempt fooled Vokoun and slipped between his pads. Kopecky completed the scoring by beating Vokoun from the slot with 2:55 left.
"We were killing too many penalties and I think that was the difference," Florida forward David Booth said. "That led to their momentum and getting on a roll. When Toews and Kane and those guys play as much as they did (on power plays), it's even harder to stop them."
Brian Campbell returned to the Blackhawks' lineup. He had skated just a few shifts of one game after injuring his foot on March 8. Dave Bolland missed his fifth game because of a concussion and is out indefinitely.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|PPG - Brent Seabrook (5) ASST: Duncan Keith (33), Jonathan Toews (43)|
1 - 0 CHI
|Viktor Stalberg (12) ASST: Jonathan Toews (44), Patrick Kane (40)|
2 - 0 CHI
|Patrick Kane (25) ASST: Duncan Keith (34), Brent Seabrook (36)|
3 - 0 CHI
|Tomas Kopecky (14) ASST: Michael Frolik (25), Marian Hossa (28)|
4 - 0 CHI
|Mike Weaver Hooking against Viktor Stalberg|
|Marian Hossa Holding the stick against Alexander Sulzer|
|Jack Skille Tripping against Brent Seabrook|
|Dmitry Kulikov Tripping against Patrick Kane|
|Niclas Bergfors Too many men/ice - bench|
|Marcus Kruger Holding against Mike Weaver|