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game recap

Toews, Kane, Crawford carry Blackhawks past Panthers

Forwards score, goalie makes 37 saves

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists, Corey Crawford made 37 saves in his 400th NHL game, and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 at BB&T Center on Saturday.

 

[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Panthers highlights]

 

Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks (11-9-3), and John Hayden and Patrick Kane scored. Chicago is 3-0-1 in its past four games.

"We're getting more consistent starts and better effort," Toews said. "We're starting to settle in as a team and doing what it takes to be a good team."

Jared McCann scored for the Panthers (8-12-2), who have lost three of four. Roberto Luongo made 35 saves; he had a 1.56 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in his previous five games.

Toews' goal at 17:08 of the second period gave Chicago a 4-1 lead. He reached out for a floating puck in front of the Florida net and batted it down toward the goal with a one-handed swipe. The puck bounced once and went between Luongo's pads.

Video: CHI@FLA: Kane snaps shot home from the face-off dot

Asked what he was trying to do on the play, Toews replied, "Exactly what happened. Let's leave it at that."

Chicago outshot Florida 21-7 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead. Hayden made it 1-0 at 9:25 after Tommy Wingels' attempted wraparound went off the end of his stick and toward the front of the net. Florida center Derek MacKenzie missed a chance to swipe the puck before Hayden one-timed it over Luongo's left shoulder.

Saad made it 2-0 at 14:35 when he redirected Toews' pass from the corner for his eighth goal of the season but his second in 16 games. It was one of seven shots for Saad in the first period, the most for a Blackhawks player in a period since 2008.

"Obviously seven in a period, you're around the net," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You'd hope that one of them might have gone in earlier than that. But you look at the chances he's had in the last three or four games, to be snakebit like that, he was doing everything he can to break loose and hopefully that's a good sign."

McCann made it 2-1 at 1:06 of the second period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle. Kane made it 3-1 at 7:03 with a wrist shot from the right circle that went through a screen and beat Luongo on the short side.

"You've got to hand it to them, they were ready to play and we weren't," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "We did a good job in the second but it was just too late. The backbreaker was the third goal."

Florida defeated Chicago at BB&T Center 4-0 in 2015-16 and 7-0 last season.

"Night and day," Quenneville said. "It was a good start. We did a lot of good things tonight. We checked well. We handled the puck well, did some good things with it."

Video: CHI@FLA: Hayden snaps one home from the slot

 

Goal of the game

Saad's goal at 14:35 of the first period.

Video: CHI@FLA: Saad taps in Toews' great pass

 

Save of the game

Crawford stopped Aleksander Barkov's shot from the slot at 5:40 of the first period.

Video: CHI@FLA: Crawford makes blocker save on Barkov

 

Highlight of the game

Toews' goal at 17:08 of the second period.

Video: CHI@FLA: Toews bats puck in with one hand on stick

 

They said it

"We were in a tough spot there. We're in unfamiliar territory being out of the [Stanley Cup] Playoff spots, and looking how competitive it is in our division (Central) and our conference (Western), so we can't be happy. I thought we've had a good trip here and had a good Thanksgiving Day, some great food, some great camaraderie. The guys were good together, we had a good practice yesterday and stayed away (from the rink in the morning) today, and we like the way we started." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

 

"I don't think it was anything Chicago did in particular. I don't think we were ready to play, plain and simple. We were just turning pucks over and giving them away. That was what fed their offense, and they were able to take a two-goal lead. It was a tough start for our team, and against a team like Chicago, those are tough holes to dig yourself out of." -- Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo

 

Need to know

Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov left the game with 7:50 left in the third period with an apparent upper-body injury after a collision in front of the Chicago net. Boughner didn't provide an update after the game. … Panthers captain MacKenzie (lower body) returned to the lineup after missing five games. … Crawford, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 22, 2006, is 224-122-44. … Chicago played eight consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams (4-3-1). … Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien had seven shots for the Blackhawks in a period Feb. 6, 2008 against the Edmonton Oilers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

 

What's next

Blackhawks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Panthers: At the New Jersey Devils on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Toews, Crawford propel Blackhawks to 4-1 victory

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