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Hawks Beat Panthers, Take NHL Lead

Chicago 3, Florida 1

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    AP
    Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, right, trips Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss, center, as defenseman Duncan Keith skates for the puck during the first period of a hockey game, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 in Chicago. Seabrook was penalized for the trip. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

    Patrick Kane ended a seven-game goal drought and set up linemate Jonathan Toews' breakaway score in the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

    Defenseman Duncan Keith added his first goal in 30 games to help Chicago take the NHL lead, a point ahead of Detroit. The Blackhawks have won three straight and are 5-0-1 in their last six games.

    Ray Emery made 18 saves, allowing only Jason Garrison's power-play goal 43 seconds into the third period.

    The Panthers dropped their eighth straight on the road and slipped to 1-3-3 in their last seven overall.

    Toews, who leads Chicago with 27 goals, has goals in four straight games and extended his points streak to six games. Kane's goal was his second in 14 games.

    The game started a little over a half-hour late, at 8:08 p.m., because of snow. The announced attendance at the 20,500-seat United Center was 21,555, but about 2,000 seats remained empty.

    The Panthers' bus from their downtown hotel arrived at the arena at about 6:45 p.m.

    Five Florida players who were on Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup championship team — defenseman Brian Campbell and forwards Tomas Kopecky, Kris Versteeg, John Madden and Jack Skille — skated against their former club.

    Campbell, who was traded to Florida last summer, and Kopecky, who left as a free agent, returned to the United Center for the first time. Versteeg, traded to Toronto shortly after the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup, also made his first appearance since leaving. Skille played in Chicago last season with the Panthers and Madden played two games in Chicago with Minnesota.

    Toews and Keith scored just over 2 minutes apart late in the first.

    Toews opened the scoring with 2:20 left on a breakaway. After taking Kane's feed, Toews got behind Garrison and beat goalie Jose Theodore with a backhand shot.

    Keith made it 2-0 with 17 seconds left in the period on a low screened shot from the top of the slot. It was his first goal since Nov. 13.

    Kane extended Chicago's lead to 3-0 with 6:55 left in the second on a 2-on-1 with Viktor Stalberg. Kane held the puck, then fired a shot from the right circle under Theodore's glove.

    Emery lost a shutout bid early in the third when Garrison blasted in a screened shot from the blue line. He connected from a faceoff, just 4 seconds after Toews was sent off for tripping.

    Theodore made 19 saves.