Blackhawks 3, Panthers 2 (SO)

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Chicago Blackhawks blew a two-goal lead in the third period, but they emerged with a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center.

In the shootout, Chicago's Jonathan Toews scored, Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau missed, and the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane missed. Brad Boyes was denied, and Patrick Sharp scored to win it for Chicago.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who made 20 saves in regulation and overtime, is 4-0-1 in his past five starts.

Jacob Markstrom finished in goal for Florida, relieving Tim Thomas with 2:59 left in the third period. Thomas apparently re-injured his groin. Thomas made 25 saves, while Markstrom stopped both shots he faced prior to the shootout.

Florida (3-6-1) cut Chicago's lead to 2-1 on a goal by Tomas Fleischmann with 10:56 left in the third period. It was his second goal of the season, and the assists went to Aleksander Barkov and Kris Versteeg.

Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who was penalized twice early in the game, including one that resulted in a Chicago goal, made up for his mistakes by tying the score on a wrist shot with 8:09 left in the third period. The goal was unassisted.

The Blackhawks (6-1-2) won in front of their moms, who made the road trip. Chicago also beat Florida for the fourth consecutive meeting, although this was the first time the teams faced off since Jan. 20, 2012.

Chicago's power play, much improved of late, got the visitors on the board first. Toews got the goal at 5:18 of the second period, his third of the season, with assists from Duncan Keith and Kane.

Toews beat Thomas, but the goat was Kulikov, who was sent off for interference. The Panthers killed off Kulikov's first penalty, for hooking in the first period, but could not do the same the second time around.

It was Chicago's seventh power-play goal in nine games.

Kulikov's penalties -- and his goal -- come on the heels of a report in the Toronto Star that stated the Maple Leafs are interested in his services. Kulikov is in the last season of a four-year contract, and various reports already have the struggling Panthers interested in dealing away veterans.

The Panthers had a major opportunity with 10:36 left in the second period when Huberdeau was awarded a penalty shot after he was taken down by center Michal Handzus.

Huberdeau, the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year, offered a couple of dekes, but his forehand try was denied by Crawford.

Chicago made the score 2-0 on a goal by Bryan Bickell with 3:11 left in the second period. It was his second goal of the season, and the assists came from Andrew Shaw and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

NOTES: Panthers LW Sean Bergenheim, who hasn't played in 18 months due to hip and abdominal injuries, practiced Monday and is believed to be close to returning to the lineup. ... Thomas, signed just before the season started, is still wearing a plain white mask while he waits for his Panthers-themed new one to arrive. ... Chicago D Michal Rozsival missed his third straight game due to illness. ... The Blackhawks' offense, ranked second in the NHL last season with 3.1 goals per game, was down to 2.75 and 14th in the league entering Tuesday. ... Blackhawks RW Ben Smith is getting an opportunity to play now that Joakim Nordstrom is back in the minors. Nordstrom, 21, had one goal in eight games. ... Next up for the Blackhawks is Thursday's game at Tampa Bay, where backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, 40, is expected to make his second start of the season. He beat the Islanders 3-2 on Oct. 11. ... The Panthers continue their homestand Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.
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