The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night at the United Center, improving to 4-0-1 in a shootout this year. Chicago has posted an 18-3-1 record since the start of February to lead the NHL in wins (18) and points (37) during that span. The Blackhawks picked up victories in all five matchups with the Stars this year, outscoring Dallas 18-11. Chicago's 25 wins on home ice rank fourth in the NHL. Patrick Kane recorded a goal in the first period and added a tally in the shootout, Marian Hossa recorded a goal and Artemi Panarin netted the game-deciding goal in the shootout. Corey Crawford turned aside 42 of 44 shots on goal in Thursday's victory over the Stars, improving to 30-15-3 on the season.
Chicago holds a 21-8-3-2 all-time record against Florida, including a 10- 4-1-1 mark on the road. The Blackhawks own a 17-3-2-2 record over their last 24 matchups with the Panthers. Tonight's contest concludes the two-game regular-season series between the clubs. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout on Nov. 29. Richard Panik (1G), Marcus Kruger (1A) and Dennis Rasmussen (1A) have each registered a point vs. the Panthers this year.
Crawford matched a season high (March 12 vs. MIN) with 42 saves against Dallas. He reached the 30-win mark for the sixth time in his career. That total is second in franchise history, only to Tony Esposito who achieved at least 30 wins eight times in his illustrious career. Crawford has made at least 40 saves in three appearances during the month of March. Since March 1, he is 6-2-0 with a .931 save percentage, which ranks ninth in the league.
Niklas Hjalmarsson set a new career high with his 167th blocked shot of the season on Thursday against Dallas. His previous career best came during the 2010-11 campaign when he finished 13th in the league with 166 blocks. His current total ranks sixth in the league. He trails only teammates Duncan Keith (1372) and Brent Seabrook (1567) in Blackhawks history with 1172 career blocked shots.
Panarin recorded the game-winning goal in the shootout vs. Dallas. He has converted on four of his five (80 percent) shootout attempts this season. Jonathan Toews pushed his point streak (3G, 4A) to six games with an assist. Nick Schmaltz picked up a helper, extending his point streak (4A) to three games. He ranks seventh among Western Conference rookies with 24 points (6G, 18A) this year. Trevor van Riemsdyk notched an assist to set a new career high with 15 points (5G, 10A) this season.
THREE OPPONENTS TO WATCH
D Keith Yandle: A fourth-round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, Yandle paces Florida in assists and leads all Panthers blueliners in scoring and power-play points (2G, 12A). He is expected to skate in his 624th consecutive NHL game tonight, which is six games shy of tying Andy Hebenton (630) for eighth all-time in consecutive regular season games played.
LW Thomas Vanek: A native of Vienna, Austria, Vanek has notched six points (6A) over his last five games. On March 4 vs. TOR, he posted a career-high four assists, the most by a Panther this season and the most recorded in a single game by a Panther since Brian Campbell did so in 2011.
C Vincent Trocheck: The Pittsburgh native leads FLA in points, ranks second in goals and third in assists. Trocheck has notched seven assists over his last eight games. He registered his 50th point of the season on March 21 vs. CAR, marking his second consecutive 50-point season. He is three goals away and three points away from tying his career highs set last season.