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Seabrook, Kane help Blackhawks defeat Panthers

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks passed their first test without top defenseman Duncan Keith.

Brent Seabrook, Keith's former defense partner, had a goal and two assists to help the Blackhawks defeat the Florida Panthers 3-2 at United Center on Thursday in their first game without Keith.

Keith had surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee Tuesday and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

"You definitely miss him," Seabrook said. "He's one of those special players that you notice every time he's on the ice. Anytime he's not out there, you definitely miss him, but I think the guys stepped up. They did a good job. The defense did a good job of playing together. It was a team effort tonight and we're going to need that going forward."

The Blackhawks' second line combined for five points, led by right wing Patrick Kane's goal and two assists. Center Artem Anisimov scored a goal, and left wing Artemi Panarin extended his point streak to three games with the primary assist on Seabrook's power-play goal in the second period.

Corey Crawford made 16 saves for the Blackhawks (4-3-0), who were 2-for-8 on the power play.

"I thought we were solid," Quenneville said. "I thought we had a real strong game. I thought our team game, we had the puck in the offensive zone a lot, [and] didn't give them many opportunities. I thought we played a real strong team game and got a lot of contributions across the board, and the young guys on the back end looked fine."

Vincent Trocheck and Jaromir Jagr scored for the Panthers (3-3-1), who have lost three in a row. Goalie Roberto Luongo made 24 saves.

Florida lost center Aleksander Barkov to an upper-body injury at 10:34 of the second period. Barkov did not return after blocking a shot by Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"It's a big loss," said Jagr, whose goal moved him into a tie for third place with Teemu Selanne on the NHL's all-time list for power-play points (588). "He's our best player, and it's going to be tough to replace. Nobody knows for how long he's going to be out, so it's even tougher. But we've got to do it no matter what."

Without Barkov, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant had Jagr center the top line and bumped up Trocheck from the second line to play opposite left wing Jonathan Huberdeau.

"[Barkov] blocked a shot, and it got him somewhere on the arm or hand, in that area," Gallant said. "I had to put [Trocheck] up there [on the first line]. When somebody gets hurt, you've got to throw somebody else up there. There were a lot of different line combinations in the second half of the game, trying to get something to work."

The Panthers worked shorthanded for much of the second period, when they were called for five penalties that all led to Blackhawks power plays and two of Chicago's goals.

Seabrook made it 2-1 on a man-advantage at 3:51 with a shot from the point that sailed through traffic. Kane made it 3-1 seventeen seconds into the third period with a backhand shot off a rush during carryover time on Chicago's fifth power play of the game.

"You can't spend that much time [killing power plays]," Gallant said. "When you're killing penalties, you're not getting scoring chances. Sixteen minutes of a hockey game in your own zone really wears on you."

Seabrook hit Kane in stride through the neutral zone, setting up Kane's rush up the left wing and to the low slot for the backhand shot that beat Luongo.

"We worked on it [Wednesday] in practice," Seabrook said. "We tried it early [in the game]. They were taking it away, but [Kane] got free there. He ran the route, and I was just trying to make the pass and trying to find him. He ran a good route, and once he gets in, he's pretty hard to stop."

It turned out to be the deciding goal after Jagr pulled Florida to within 3-2 during a 5-on-3 power play in the third.

Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger was called for a high-sticking double minor at 5:28, and Hjalmarsson was called for delay of the game at 5:34 to create a lengthy two-man advantage. Toward the end of it, Jagr got to a loose puck in the crease for his fifth goal, with Nick Bjugstad and former Blackhawks center Dave Bolland getting the assists.

"It was 3-1, it looked like it was over, but then we come back and get a big goal," Gallant said. "We got a power play of our own and had a chance, and then we didn't get much after that."

It didn't take long for either team to get on the scoreboard in the first.

Anisimov made it 1-0 at 4:02 with his third goal, and Trocheck countered with his second goal on the next shift, tying it 1-1 at 4:36. Chicago controlled most of the action in the first, finishing the period with a 12-5 advantage in shots and a 19-7 advantage in shot attempts.

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