Chicago (28-28-8) started the trip with losses at Dallas, 2-1, and at St. Louis, 6-5, before scoring five unanswered goals in the third period for a 5-2 win Thursday at Tampa Bay. Dominik Kubalik scored a hat trick in the period to increase his rookie goal scoring lead to 29 goals. He also leads the team in goals and has scored seven in as many games of late.
Corey Crawford made 36 saves for his second win in his past eight starts. The 35-year-old is expected to hold down the net for the majority of the rest of the season for Chicago, which trails Nashville and Winnipeg by eight points for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Kubalik’s second goal came on the power play to give Chicago its fourth straight game with a power-play goal. The Blackhawks scored a season-high three power-play goals in St. Louis.
Chicago recalled forward Brandon Hagel from the AHL on an emergency basis Saturday morning.
The Blackhawks are 5-3-2 in 10 Leap Day games, including a 3-0-2 mark in their past five since 1984. Chicago, which is 1-3-1 on the road on the day, played to a 2-2 tie against Florida on Feb. 29, 2004, at the United Center.
The Panthers (33-25-6) have lost three of their past four after they squandered a two-goal lead in a 5-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday. Florida trails Columbus and Toronto by four points for the second wild card and third place in the Atlantic Division, respectively.
Mike Hoffman scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season, and Keith Yandle had two assists against Toronto.
Florida added forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark as well as prospects Eetu Luostarinen, a forward, and Chase Priskie, a defenseman, in a trade with the Hurricanes for center Vincent Trocheck on Monday. Haula had an assist against the Maple Leafs in his second game with the Panthers, while Wallmark has yet to score.
Aleski Saarela, who was traded from the Blackhawks for defenseman Ian McCoshen in a minor-league trade in October, has two goals in his past six games with Florida during his most recent NHL call up. McCoshen was called up earlier this season, but never played for Chicago.
Chicago is 0-1 against Florida this season after a 4-3 loss Jan. 21 at the United Center. Kirby Dach had a goal and an assist, and Drake Caggiula and Patrick Kane also scored.
Tale of the tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Panthers
48.13% (26th) — Corsi For — 49.58% (17th)
46.38% (29th) — Expected goals for — 54.21% (2nd)
2.95 (19th) — Goals per game — 3.42 (4th)
3.14 (T-22nd) — Goals against per game — 3.36 (30th)
49.8% (17th) — Faceoffs — 50.2% (14th)
15.5% (28th) — Power play — 22.3% (8th)
81.9% (10th) — Penalty kill — 78% (23rd)
Kubalik — Toews — Saad
Nylander — Strome — Kane
DeBrincat — Dach — Caggiula
Highmore — Kampf — Carpenter
Keith — Boqvist
Carlsson — Murphy
Maatta — Koekkoek
Huberdeau — Barkov — Dadonov
Vatrano — Haula — Hoffman
Saarela — Wallmark — Connolly
Sceviour — Acciari — Pysyk
Weegar — Ekblad
Stillman — Stralman
Yandle — Matheson
How to watch
When: 5 p.m.
Where: BT&T Center; Sunrise, Fla.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV