The Chicago Blackhawks started out their long stretch of games without Patrick Kane with a splendid effort on Thursday night, shutting out the Florida Panthers by a score of 3-0.
Teuvo Teravainen and Brandon Saad both scored goals for the Blackhawks, and Jonathan Toews added an empty netter at the end of the contest to seal the victory. Corey Crawford had a relatively easy night at the office, making 20 saves as the Hawks won their second straight game over the Panthers.
The Blackhawks seemed to have a ton of jump in their game as things got started, and they were rewarded early on with a goal. After Andrew Shaw won a puck battle in the corner, Teravainen picked it up and made a break toward the net. Roberto Luongo seemed fooled a bit as he pushed over toward the far post, but Teravainen quickly ripped a shot over the goaltender’s glove and under the crossbar to make it a 1-0 game.
Chicago continued to keep the pressure ratcheted up as the first period wore on, and as a result they got a long 5-on-3 power play. After a shot by Marian Hossa rang loudly off the crossbar however, everything seemed to grind to a halt for the Hawks as they struggled to move the puck around the zone and ultimately were unsuccessful on the man-advantage.
The Panthers did get a couple of late chances as the period came to an end, but Crawford kept them at bay as Chicago maintained its one goal lead through 20 minutes of play.
Early on in the second period, the Blackhawks’ offense continued to fire off chances at will, and they were successful again about three minutes in. After getting a feed from Duncan Keith, Saad broke into the zone and ripped a shot past a diving Luongo to make it a 2-0 game.
The Blackhawks’ defense continued to clamp down as the period wore on, holding the Panthers to just four shots on goal through the first 30 minutes of the game. Florida did get a couple of good chances late, including a couple of netfront opportunities for former Blackhawks winger Jimmy Hayes, but the door remained closed to their efforts as the Hawks’ shutout remained intact through two periods of play.
The third period got started with another big push by the Blackhawks, with their first line doing most of the work. Toews and Saad each had good shots on goal that Luongo repelled, and Hossa’s backhand shot was also steered aside. Ben Smith also had a great chance on the rush that was blocked up high to keep Florida within striking range.
The Panthers began to push back in the later stages of the period, getting a couple of lengthy possessions. Their scoring chances were largely swatted aside however, and when Toews added an empty netter toward the end of the third period, the Hawks secured the season series sweep over the Panthers.
The Hawks won’t have much time to savor the victory however as they prepare to face the high-flying Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.