The Blackhawks beat the Panthers 3-0 on Thursday night at the United Center to complete a two-game sweep during Florida’s visit to Chicago this season.
A scoreless first period saw the Blackhawks kill off two power plays. The Blackhawks were outshot in the period 13-7, but, when there are two players who head to the box during the period, that’s not unexpected.
The first penalty Florida took came after the whistle had blown on the first period. Patrick Kane began the scoring on the power play that opened the second:
PP Patrick Kane picked up a loose puck in front of the net and scored a power-play goal.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 26, 2021
Carl Soderberg#Blackhawks 1, #FlaPanthers 0 pic.twitter.com/IFlm9WIhKQ
That was his 13th goal on the season.
Two-and-a-half minutes later, Pius Suter contorted himself, kicking the puck to his stick blade, and put home a rebound from Alex DeBrincat:
Alex DeBrincat's shot went off Sergei Bobrovsky's left pad then Pius Suter kicked the puck to himself and scored to extend the lead.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 26, 2021
Patrick Kane#Blackhawks 2, #FlaPanthers 0 pic.twitter.com/CMLOykmCLw
Kane got the secondary assist on the play, picking up two points in just under three minutes.
Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves in the first 40 minutes and kept Florida scoreless. That trend continued through the final period, giving Lankinen his second career shutout. Brandon Hagel scored into an empty net with 1:24 left in the game to make the score 3-0 the only goal scored in the final frame.
- The penalty kill played 10 minutes against the Panthers’ seventh-ranked power play on Thursday. They gave up 13 shots and 1.3 expected goals in those 10 minutes but zero goals. A large part of that was Lankinen’s efforts. The Blackhawks blocked six shots ahead of him — four by Connor Murphy, two by Calvin de Haan — but Lankinen was excellent throughout on the penalty kill.
- The game didn’t see much 5-on-5 time: just 42:50, the fourth-lowest of any Blackhawks game this season. That’s what happens when the Blackhawks take five penalties and the Panthers take three. This was not a highly disciplined game for either team. At 5-on-5, the Blackhawks were the lesser team. They had a 30.99 percent share of the shot attempts — their worst this season — and a 31.92 percent share of the expected goals — third-worst (shoutout to LBR). The Blackhawks didn’t give up a shot against for 9:05 in the third period, though. Save for that late stretch, though, Chicago was bad. Very bad.
- Lankinen was the best part of this game for the Blackhawks. He made 41 saves in the shutout and faced 3.47 expected goals against. Lankinen made 12 saves on 12 high-danger shots and faced just two shots given up due to rebounds. In other words, as bad as the Blackhawks were in front of Lankinen in this game, he was just as good.
- Just five players generated a high-danger chance for the Blackhawks in this game. One of them was Philipp Kurashev, who played just 8:06. While that’s likely the result of the low 5-on-5 time in this game, playing Kurashev more has to happen, especially when Kurashev generated 0.1 expected goals, more than Dominik Kubalik, Mattias Janmark and Ryan Carpenter (among others), all of whom had more time than Kurashev.
- While the Blackhawks as a whole got shelled, the line of DeBrincat, Kane and Suter was alright. They generated six shots to seven against and 0.56 expected goals for to 0.43 expected goals against. The line of Kurashev, Carl Soderberg and Matthew Highmore had 0.14 expected goals for to 0.08 against. Those two lines were the only ones who approached “good” in this game but that still wasn’t enough to play a good game team-wide.
- The Blackhawks’ power play generated 0.84 expected goals in just 5:05. The goal scored by Chicago’s man-advantage turned out to be the game-winner.
- Kevin Lankinen (CHI) — 41 saves, 12 high-danger saves
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Brandon Hagel (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks continue their homestand as they host the Predators at 7 p.m. on Saturday.