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Panthers' eyes on playoffs in rematch vs. Blackhawks

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com

BLACKHAWKS (36-20-5) at PANTHERS (26-21-13)

TV: SNO, SNW, CSN-CH, FS-F

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers expressed more concern about the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs than possible retribution for a hit that injured star forward Patrick Kane as they prepared to play the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday in the back end of a home-and-home set.

"We have to get two points, so it's not something that we're worried about,"???said Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell, a former teammate of Kane's with the Blackhawks. "I???know they would love to start getting on a roll and playing better as well."

The Blackhawks placed Kane on long-term injured reserve Wednesday after he sustained a broken left clavicle crashing into the boards in the first period of their 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday. Kane lost his balance after defenseman Alex Petrovic pushed him. He is expected to miss 12 weeks.

Petrovic was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking on the play.

"That hit was an accident,"???said Petrovic, who was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Jan. 28 and will play his 16th game of the season Thursday. "He fell into the boards. I didn't intend to injure anyone or target anyone. It just happened. Tonight obviously they're going to come out hard and probably seek revenge or whatnot. But we've got to get two. It's a big two points so I???think at the end of the day that's what we're here for."

The Panthers acquired forward Jaromir Jagr on Thursday in a trade with the New Jersey Devils; Jagr is not expected to play this game.

To replace Kane in the lineup, the Blackhawks recalled prospect Teuvo Teravainen from Rockford of the AHL and he's expected to play on the third line with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw, with Kris Versteeg moving to the second line to join Patrick Sharp and Brad Richards.

Chicago did not hold a morning skate Thursday.

Petrovic said he asked Campbell and forward Jimmy Hayes, a former prospect with the Blackhawks, to text Kane to offer his apology.

Campbell said he got a text from Kane after the game Tuesday seeking advice in dealing with a shoulder injury, something Campbell went through earlier in his career.

"It's too bad, obviously,"???Campbell said. "He [Kane] is leading the League in scoring. You want to see him do well. I???do because I think he's a good kid and comes from a good family. That's the disappointing part, being a friend. We're playing against them. Are they a different team????Yeah. Anytime you lose your leading scorer you're a little bit of a different team, but we keep moving forward.

"Obviously they have a great lineup and we've got to be ready tonight. We've got to be ready to go and hopefully he can get back as quick as he can."

The Blackhawks won Tuesday when captain Jonathan Toews and Sharp scored in the shootout, and goalie Scott Darling stopped Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad.

Darling made 34 saves in regulation and overtime in his first start since being recalled from Rockford. He is 6-2-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage in his eight starts.

Toews scored on the power play that followed Kane's injury and Versteeg made it 2-0 in the second period before the Panthers rallied with third-period goals by Jussi Jokinen and Trocheck.

"The other night felt like a two-point game because we come back, we're down 2-0 against a real good team and we found a way to get a point in that game,"?????????Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "So it was a positive for our group leaving the arena the other night. It was a huge point for us the other night."

The Blackhawks (36-20-5), who ended a three-game losing streak Tuesday,?????????trail the St. Louis Blues by three points for second place in the Central Division.

Chicago, which wrapped up an eight-game homestand with a 3-2-3 record, will be playing on the road for the first time since Feb. 8.

The Panthers (26-21-13)?????????begin a season-long seven-game homestand that will end March 12 against the Winnipeg Jets. They will go into the game against the Blackhawks two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

"I?????????can't look forward to the seven-game homestand,"?????????Gallant said. "I?????????know we've got 15 of our next 22 at home, but home doesn't mean you're going to win. You've got to play well, you've got to work hard and you've got to earn your points. If we play the game we're capable of playing we have a chance to win every night."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Brad Richards - Kris Versteeg

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Teuvo Teravainen

Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

Duncan Keith - David Rundblad

Kyle Cumiskey - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Tim Erixon, Daniel Carcillo

Injured: Patrick Kane (clavicle), Johnny Oduya (upper body)

PANTHERS

Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Jimmy Hayes

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Tomas Fleischmann - Vincent Trocheck - Scottie Upshall

Garrett Wilson - Derek MacKenzie - Shawn Thornton

Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

Steven Kampfer - Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Scratched: Tomas Kopecky

Injured: Willie Mitchell (upper body), Dave Bolland (upper body), Brandon Pirri (upper body)

Status report: Along with recalling Teravainen, the Blackhawks sent defenseman Travis van Riemsdyk to Rockford. … Mitchell and Pirri took part in the morning skate and Gallant said they were close to returning to the lineup. … Bolland did not skate Thursday but Gallant said his injury shouldn't be long-term.

Who's hot: Trocheck has a point in each of the past two games after being recalled from San Antonio. … Toews has four goals and four assists in the past eight games. … Versteeg has four goals in seven games since missing 16 games because of a hand injury.

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