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Panthers Wrap-Up: Blackhawks 6, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 2 0 0 2
Blackhawks 2 2 2 0 6
FLA - D. Olsen (2), M. Goc (7)
CHI - PPG - P. Sharp (12), PPG - B. Seabrook (2), M. Hossa (13), M. Handzus (2), PPG - A. Shaw (9), B. Saad (9)

CHICAGO, Il —  ( - The Chicago Blackhawks stepped up their penalty kill in ending a three-game winless skid with a 6-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, but they have a new injury hurdle ahead of them.

Already playing without power forward Bryan Bickell (knee), the Blackhawks lost Corey Crawford to a lower-body injury in the first period of the win against the Panthers at United Center.

"I don't think we were very good to start the game. Obviously to come back against this team in this building after giving them that lead in the first period is going to be difficult so back-to-back is not an excuse…you have to be mentally tougher and in that situation. You have to have some energy to make sure you're doing all the right things."

- Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek.
1. Down Three: Playing the night before while facing a rested Blackhawks team, the Panthers new the first 10 minutes of the game would be tough. It didn't help that they took early penalties. Chicago jumped on the board just 1:10 into the game with Tomas Kopecky in the box as Patrick Sharp's point shot beat Scott Clemmensen. Then Sean Bergenheim was given four minutes (two for interference and two for unsportsmanlike conduct) and the Hawks scored once again as Brent Seabrook scored 9:11 in. The game looked like it would be a cake walk for the Hawks as Marian Hossa scored just 37 seconds into the second period, scoring on a 2-on-1 break after a turnover.

2. Within One: The Hawks had several good chances to make it a four-goal game but Clemmensen made the big stops to give the Cats a chance and they responded less than four minutes after Hossa's goal. Tomas Kopecky found Dylan Olsen and the blueliner let one rip past Antti Raanta who came in to replace start Corey Crawford (left the first period with an injury) with 4:05 off the clock. Florida made it a one-goal game a little over five minutes later off a turnover. Olsen didn't get credit for an assist but his dump in was played by Raanta and the netminder turned it over up the boards. Marcel Goc intercepted the puck, worked his way out to the center of the offensive zone and fired a shot top shelf at 9:37.

3. Special Teams The Difference: It looked like Florida would head to the third trailing by a goal but the Blackhawks regained a two-goal lead with 2:34 to play as Michael Handzus swatted the puck past the outstretched pad of Clemmensen off a rebound. In the third, they got their three-goal lead back thanks to their third power play goal of the game. Andrew Shaw redirected Sharp's point shot 2:44 in. One of the most dynamic offenses in the league, the Panthers couldn't give them anything extra but they did and it was a tough night for the Panthers penalty kill units as the Hawks converted on three of their opportunities. Florida, on the flipside, had five of their own opportunities but Chicago killed off every single opportunity. Brandon Saad would put the feather in the Blackhawks cap with a breakaway goal with less than a minute to play.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@bensaunders38:@FlaPanthers some quality moments but just need that power play and a 60 minute effort. Next time Panthers!

@saintpako: #flapanthers No shame in losing to the defending champions at their home. Played well as a rebuilding team, Raanta was the difference.

@305MiamiTeams: On to the next game on Tuesday....#FlaPanthers

@2MinsForHockey: The @FlaPanthers move for Jimmy Hayes & Dylan Olsen could be a steal. Both youngsters playing very well since the deal #PanthersHockey

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Santino DiLillo: Boooo.

Andrew Levine: Bad from the start when they score on first shot - as usual. Nice call on Bergy for the 4 mins. Well, back at it Tues vs Detroit. Will be there with my bell rooting them on.

Paul Paduano: Hey at least we got within one goal for awhile.

Stephen Watts: Not a great game. Some good Chance's. Better team won. A few iffy calls from the refs. Roll on Tuesday. GO CATS GO.

2. The Hawks used the power play to jump on the board, scoring on their first two man advantages, including on their very first shot of the game, 1:10 into the contest with Patrick Sharp getting the power play marker.

3. Defenseman Dylan Olsen continues to provide offense for the Panthers. He scored the second goal of his NHL career to get the Cats on the board and extended his point streak to three games (2-2-4).

5. Tim Thomas has been a workhorse for the Panthers this season. Getting the start Sunday, it was Scott Clemmensen's fifth appearance of the season and first start since Nov. 7 (at Boston). Clemmensen finished with 26 saves on the night.

23. The Panthers played a pretty physical game, outhitting the Blackhawks 23-9 in the contest. They were led once again in the hits department by Jimmy Hayes who collected four on the night.

37. Quick strike Hawks as the Chicago scored 1:10 into the first and made it another quick goal in the second, scoring 37 seconds in thanks to Marian Hossa.

Patrick Sharp
Got the Blackhawks on the board with an early power play goal and set up the eventual game-winner on a 2-on-1 break before adding another power play assist.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, -2, 6 hots, 14:53 TOI
Florida returns home for two games at the BB&T Center this week. First up will be a meeting against the Detroit Red Wings as the two teams face off for the second time in four days. The Panthers earned a gritty, come-from-behind 2-1 victory in Detroit on Saturday night as Jimmy Hayes and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Cats. The Wings who won't have played since Saturday's defeat tied for third in the Atlantic Division, Detroit is 15-9-7 (37 points). They're led offensively by Henrik Zetterberg (30 points in 28 games) and Pavel Datsyuk (23 points in 24 games) but the duo have missed the last couple of games due to injuries. Goaltender Jimmy Howard has a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage while posting a 6-8-6 record while the Cats handed Jonas Gustavsson his first regulation loss of the season (8-1-1) on Saturday. The net minder has a .930 save percentage and 2.03 GAA.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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