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Blackhawks at Panthers preview

Luongo eyes fifth win in past six starts for Florida; Crawford expected to start, appear in 400th NHL game for Chicago

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (10-8-3) at PANTHERS (8-11-2)



The Game

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo will aim to continue his strong play when the Panthers host the Chicago Blackhawks at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Luongo has a 4-1-0 record with a 1.56 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in his past five starts, and has held opponents to three goals or fewer in six consecutive starts. He has 458 NHL wins, fourth on the all-time list. Ed Belfour is third with 484.

The Panthers are 3-2-0 in their past five games after going 1-4-2 in their previous seven games.

The Blackhawks also are 3-2-0 in their past five games, after going 2-5-0 in their previous seven. Goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to start and play his 400th NHL game. He has held opponents to three goals or fewer in seven of his past eight starts.


Players to watch

Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov has six points (five goals, one assist) in a four-game point streak. 

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his past 16 games.


They said it

"Our efficiency in the scoring area, completing those and finishing, hasn't really been up to the percentages. Let's find a way to get back to at least that consistency or predictability." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Chicago capitalizing on its scoring chances

"It's easy to get up for these kind of games, like [the] Toronto [Maple Leafs], because you know if you're not ready, you can get embarrassed." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner on facing the Blackhawks


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Nick Schmaltz -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp -- Ryan Hartman -- Alex DeBrincat

Lance Bouma -- Tommy Wingels -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Cody Franson

Connor Murphy -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Jan Rutta

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Michal Kempny, Jordan Oesterle, Tanner Kero

Injured: Michal Rozsival (concussion), Jordin Tootoo (upper body)


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Henrik Haapala -- Vincent Trocheck -- Nick Bjugstad

Jamie McGinn -- Jared McCann -- Colton Sceviour

Micheal Haley -- Derek MacKenzie -- Connor Brickley

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Ian McCoshen -- MacKenzie Weegar

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Dryden Hunt, Chase Balisy

Injured:  Radim Vrbata (face), Mark Pysyk (lower body)


Status report

MacKenzie is expected to return after missing five games with a lower-body injury. ... Pysyk, who was injured against Toronto on Wednesday, could also play against the Blackhawks, Boughner said. ... The Panthers placed Vrbata on injured reserve, and hope he might be able to return by next weekend. … The Blackhawks did not conduct a morning skate.


Stat pack

Florida defeated Chicago in the past two meetings at BB&T Center, 4-0 on Jan. 22, 2016, and 7-0 on March 25. … Kane has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 15 games against the Panthers. … Chicago is 6-for-17 on the power play in its past four games after going 0-for-11 with the man advantage the previous three games. 

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