The Panthers defeated the Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night at the BB&T Center. Chicago is now 18-8-2 against the Eastern Conference this season. Corey Crawford made 21 saves before being replaced by Scott Darling. Darling allowed three goals on six shots.
Chicago owns a 17-12-5-5 all-time record against Tampa Bay, including a 5-6-3-4 mark on the road. Tonight's contest marks the second and final regular-season matchup between the clubs. The Lightning defeated the Blackhawks 5-2 on Jan. 24 at the United Center. It was Chicago's first regulation loss (78-1-5) when leading after two periods since the 2014- 15 season. The Blackhawks defeated the Lightning in six games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Duncan Keith took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after registering 21 points (3G, 18A) and averaging 31:07 of ice time.
END OF THE ROAD
The Blackhawks have a chance to tie a franchise record for road victories in a season. Chicago has posted 23 wins on the road, which ranks second in the NHL and and is one short of a team record that was set during the 2014-15 campaign. The Blackhawks have won 13 of their previous 16 games away from the United Center. Including tonight, they have seven regular-season games remaining, five of which are on the road.
Three of Chicago's last five games have required extra time. The Blackhawks hold a 2-0-1 mark in those contests, including a 3-2 shootout victory over the Stars on March 23. They own a 13-5-1 record in overtime, including a 4-0-1 mark in the shootout. With the game-deciding goal in Thursday's shootout, Artemi Panarin is now four of five (80 percent) on shootout attempts this season and five of seven (71 percent) in his career. He shares the league lead with three game-deciding goals.
Trevor van Riemsdyk shared the club lead with three shots on goal against the Panthers. He also shared the team lead with two blocked shots. John Hayden led the Blackhawks with three hits vs. Florida. He has 25 shots since making his National Hockey League debut on March 16. Johnny Oduya shared the team lead with two blocks. He has recorded 27 blocked shots in eight games since being acquired by Chicago. Marcus Kruger won 10 of his 13 (63 percent) draws. It was the sixth time this season that he has won at least 10 faceoffs in a game. Nick Schmaltz went five-for-seven (71 percent) at the faceoff dot. He shares seventh among Western Conference rookies with 24 points (6G, 18A) this season.
THREE OPPONENTS TO WATCH
RW Nikita Kucherov:A native of Moscow, Russia, Kucherov leads the Lightning in points, goals, power-play goals (17) and game-winning goals (6). He also leads the NHL in power-play goals this year. He has set career highs for goals, assists and points this season. His 78 points are the most recorded by a Bolt since Steven Stamkos recorded 97 points in the 2011-12 season.
LW Ondrej Palat: Palat recorded the game-tying goal on March 24 at Detroit for his 15th goal of the season. He has netted at least 15 goals in each of his first four full seasons in the NHL. He has more assists (10) and points (12) in March than any other month this season.
D Victor Hedman: The second-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Hedman has set career highs for goals, assists and points this season. He ranks sixth in the NHL in assists and is second among league blueliners. Hedman is one point away from tying Dan Boyle for second-most in a season by a Bolts defender. He has netted five goals in the month of March.