The Chicago Blackhawks won their first shootout of the season and showed signs that their scoring woes could be a thing of the past.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each scored in the shootout to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Toews also scored in regulation, Bryan Bickell added a goal and Corey Crawford made 20 saves.
The Blackhawks haven’t scored in the third period since the season opener and lost two shootouts earlier this season.
”We’re not happy with giving up leads in the third period,” Sharp said. ”We’d like to close teams out by scoring in the third period and get out of here, but when the games get tight we seem to play better and that’s important. It would be a lot worse if we were coming away with no points instead of two.”
Sharp beat goalie Jacob Markstrom on the glove side for the deciding shootout goal. The Blackhawks have won five of their past six games and extended their point streak to six games.
Florida has lost four of its last five games and has lost to Chicago four straight times.
Dmitry Kulikov and Tomas Fleischmann scored for the Panthers and Tim Thomas stopped 25 shots before leaving with 2:59 left in the game due to an apparent lower body injury. Markstrom entered the game and made two saves.
Thomas was in his third start after missing four games due to a groin injury. After making a stop, Thomas bent to the ice in discomfort. When play stopped, he went to the bench.
”I didn’t want him to not be able to play out there, either maybe hurt himself a little bit more, or not be able to play to his full potential,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. ”I don’t have an update on where he is. We probably will tomorrow.”
Trailing 2-0, the Panthers scored two goals in less than three minutes in the third. They closed to 2-1 on Fleischmann’s goal at 9:04. Aleksander Barkov passed across to Fleischmann in the lower right circle. His slap shot beat Crawford on the glove side.
Kulikov took a shot from the high slot that got past Crawford at 11:51 that tied it at 2 and put the Panthers back in it and enabled them to salvage a point.
”We stayed resilient,” Florida’s Kris Versteeg said. ”It was a nice point, but again we’ve got to find a way to get those extra points.”
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is satisfied with the Blackhawks’ effort.
”I don’t think we’re playing any different than the first two periods. I don’t think we’re sitting on leads,” Quenneville said. ”We’re not complaining, let’s put it that way.”
The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead on Toews’ power-play goal at 5:18 of the second. Duncan Keith made a nice pass from the top of the left circle to Toews skating in on the right side. His backhanded shot beat Thomas.
Chicago stretched its lead to 2-0 at 16:49 of the second. Bickell brought the puck to the left circle and wristed it past Thomas high into the net. Bickell’s goal was his second in two games.
The Panthers were awarded a penalty shot at 9:24 of the second after Jonathan Huberdeau was tripped by Michal Handzus’ stick. Huberdeau couldn’t get the puck past Crawford, who made a pad save on his right side.
NOTES: The Blackhawks haven’t scored a third-period goal since the season opener. . The Blackhawks took players’ mothers along on the two-game trip to Florida. They play at Tampa Bay on Thursday. . Current Panthers Versteeg, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky were part of the Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup championship team. . The teams faced each other for the first time since Jan. 20, 2012.