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PREVIEW: Blackhawks at Panthers - Feb. 29, 2020

Chicago wraps up four-game road trip with Leap Day meeting against the Florida Panthers

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

TIME: 5 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH+ RADIO: WGN Radio 720 STREAM: NHL.TV & MyTeamsApp

The Blackhawks wrap up their four-game swing to close out the month of February on Saturday evening in South Florida with the second and final meeting of the season against the Panthers. 


TEAM RECORDS

CHI: 28-28-8, 64 PTS
FLA: 33-25-6, 72 PTS


LAST TIME OUT

The Blackhawks scored five consecutive goals in the third period to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 on Thursday night, their first regulation win in Tampa since Feb. 17, 2009. Dominik Kubalik scored his first career hat trick and Brandon Saad and Slater Koekkoek also found the net in the win. Corey Crawford stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced on the night. 

The Panthers fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, 5-3. It was the third loss in the last four outings for Florida. Keith Yandle led the team in scoring with a pair of assists, while Mark Pysyk, Mike Hoffman and Noel Acciari all found the net. 

Florida won the first matchup, 4-3, at the United Center on Jan. 21. Kirby Dach (1G, 1A) paced the Blackhawks, with Drake Caggiula and Patrick Kane also scoring in the loss. 


LINEUP NOTES

The Blackhawks will dress the same 18 skaters and Crawford will get his fourth start on the trip against the Panthers. 

Here are the expected line combinations based on Tuesday's game:

Kubalik - Toews - Saad
Nylander - Strome - Kane 
DeBrincat - Dach - Caggiula
Highmore - Kampf - Carpenter

Keith - Boqvist
Maatta - Koekkoek
Carlsson - Murphy


LEAP DAY

The Blackhawks have played in 10 previous Leap Day games, posting a 5-3-2 record (one OT loss, one tie) all-time on Feb. 29.

Chicago is unbeaten in regulation (3-0-2) in their last five Leap Day matchups dating back to 1984. At home, they're unbeaten with a 4-0-1 record (tie), while on the road they've recorded a 1-3-1 mark (OT loss).

The Blackhawks and Panthers meet for the second time on a Leap Day, playing to a 2-2 tie at the United Center on Feb. 29, 2004. Chicago's most frequent opponent on the make-up day has been Toronto with four tilts (1936, 1964, 1992 and 2012) and a 1-2-1 record.


KUBA-LEADER

Kubalik became the first Blackhawks rookie to score a hat trick since Alex DeBrincat (March 18, 2018 vs. STL) and the 19th by a Blackhawks rookie in franchise history. With all three tallies in the third period, he is the first Blackhawks player to score three goals in a period since Artem Anisimov scored three in the third period on Nov. 15, 2017 vs. NYR. 

The rookie leads Chicago with 29 goals, which also paces all NHL rookies. His 43 points are third among first-year players. Kubalik has 10 points (7G, 3A) in his last seven games.


POWER SURGE

The Blackhawks notched a power-play goal in Tampa on Thursday, extending their consecutive power-play goal streak to four games, one off their season-long mark. Chicago scored a season-high three power-play goals in Tuesday's contest against the Blues.


DEPEND ON DUNCAN

Duncan Keith skated a season-high 28:45 of time on ice on Thursday night and pushed his season-best point streak to five games dating back to Feb. 19. At 36, Keith leads the Blackhawks in time on ice (24:11).

He recorded his 100th career goal on Tuesday in St. Louis, becoming the 100th NHL blueliner and fourth Blackhawks defenseman to reach 100 career goals and registered his 500th career assist on Feb. 19, becoming the seventh Blackhawk and second Chicago defenseman to reach the 500-assist mark.

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