The Blackhawks lost their third straight game as they were defeated 5-2 by the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the Blackhawks dictating play to start, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead on just their third shot of the first period with just 3:27 remaining in it. Sam Reinhart centered a pass to Aaron Ekblad, who one-timed the puck at the bottom of the circle for the goal.
Reino to Ek oh myyyyyy pic.twitter.com/qAZ9W0BSNy— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 20, 2022
The Blackhawks responded with 31.1 seconds left in the period. Jake McCabe made a great keep-in at the blue line to keep the cycle alive, then Patrick Kane shot from a sharp angle behind the net to bank the puck off Sergei Bobrovsky and in.
The second period saw the Panthers pick up steam in a big way, and they made it 2-1 at 7:26 in the middle frame. Marc-Andre Fleury was screened by two of his teammates, so he never even saw Brandon Montour’s shot from just inside the blue line.
Barky drops it off, Monty sends it home pic.twitter.com/wG30c2Os2Y— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 20, 2022
Late in the second, Reinhart jumped Calvin de Haan after the latter’s high hit on Mason Marchment. Both Reinhart and de Haan are given five for fighting — though why Marchment didn’t get an instigator as well is unknown:
De Haan gets two for interference and five for fighting and Reinhart five for fighting. Marchment is probably lucky he didn't connect on his stick wing at de Haan. pic.twitter.com/zwqLiGVpHD— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 20, 2022
The third period opened with the Panthers scoring just 50 seconds in to put Florida up 3-1. After a scramble in the corner, Carter Verhaeghe got the puck to MacKenzie Weegar, and his shot deflected off Kirby Dach’s stick to squeak past Fleury.
Windy with a chance of goals pic.twitter.com/eWXESMANb9— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 20, 2022
Anthony Duclair looked to have doubled the Panthers’ lead, but the play was reviewed and he was found to be offsides.
Then Caleb Jones threw a shot on net that went in, making it 3-2 with 7:22 to go in the game.
CALEB JONES GOALLLLLLL— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 20, 2022
It’s a one goal game! pic.twitter.com/H0nTVNmu03
Unfortunately, that’s as far as a Blackhawks comeback came, as Aleksander Barkov and Anton Lundell both scored empty-net goals in the final two minutes.
The Blackhawks have now lost their seventh straight home game as they fell to the Panthers 5-2.
- This is the second game in a row in which the Blackhawks actually started the game on time. Not only did they hold the Panthers to just three shots on goal, they generated almost four times that amount themselves. Some of this is likely Florida playing with their food a bit, but we’re going to give credit to Chicago for doing their part.
- The second and third periods were more of what was expected: the Panthers just imposing their will most of the last 40 minutes. The Blackhawks fought back in the final five of the second, but they were pretty disjointed, and then didn’t have a shot on goal until almost midway through the third.
- Still, despite the point above, the Blackhawks played a good game against one of the best teams in the league, even if the result was disappointing. The last few games have been so bad, the general improvement in this game was at least positive.
- I don’t normally like to complain about reffing, but this game had some big misses, didn’t it? Like, there’s no issue for Reinhart sticking up for his teammate for a perceived bad hit (it was clean, though), but he should have definitely been given an instigator penalty. And I get Marchment was instinctually protecting himself with his stick from a hit, but him not being called for the blatant cross check to Murphy’s face is just wild.
De Haan on his hit on Marchment and the way it was officiated: pic.twitter.com/yBkRk0GaJR— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 20, 2022
- Pretty sure C. Jones scored just because we’ve been criticizing him so hard lately. He’s been playing better as of late, but a lot of that is due to him being even more sheltered. Any progress is good, but it’s still strange he’s being played so much over guys like Kalynuk, Galvas, and Mitchell at this point.
- Those young defensemen may get a chance soon as McCabe left the game sometime in the second period. King said post-game that McCabe aggravated a nagging lower body injury, but he did not know the severity or how long McCabe could be out.
- Dylan Strome had a positive impact on whatever line he was on tonight. With Kubalik and DeBrincat, they owned 60 percent of the shot share; with Kane and DeBrincat, they owned 59 percent of the expected goals share.
- A lot has been said about Kane’s lack of goal scoring, but the fact is that he’s still absolutely the one driving the offense for the Blackhawks, as his 75 percent individual points share combined with TOI can attest. IPP takes the amount of goals scored by a team while a player is on the ice and assigns a percentage for how often that player earned a point on those goals. Only Strome — at 85 percent — is higher among regulars while top goal scorer DeBrincat is around 54 percent. So yeah, a lot of Kane’s points this season are assists, but that’s still impressive — and always been his bread and butter:
- The Blackhawks have four days off before their next game, so they’ve got some time to reset to close out the final three games on this homestead with some wins. That’s a very achievable feat against the three opponents — New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, and Edmonton Oilers — but they’ll have to play more like tonight and less like the previous three to five games.
- Aleksander Barkov (FLA) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Aaron Ekblad (FLA) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks have four days off before facing the New Jersey Devils Friday 7:30 p.m. at the United Center.