Panthers apply pressure in OT but can’t escape Chicago with a win
CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks found a way to eke out another victory despite another less-than-rousing performance.
Kane scored 2:24 into overtime to lift the Blackhawks to their third straight win, 3-2 over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Kane gained a step on Florida’s Mike Matheson, broke in on James Reimer and lifted a shot past the goalie on the stick side for his 11th goal. Kane streaked in after taking a pass from Artem Anisimov, who had stolen the puck from Matheson.
“I just kind of took off when I saw (Anisimov) had the puck,” Kane said “He made a nice play putting it on my tape. I just had to skate into it and pick a corner.”
Chicago closed out a perfect homestand against three of the worst teams in the NHL that included two overtime wins.
Captain Jonathan Toews tied it at 2 with 6:02 left in the third period, breaking in alone and also beating Reimer on the stick side after a terrific pass from Brandon Saad. It was Toews’ third goal in five games and No. 9 on the season.
“It’s nice to get some confidence and score goals late in games when we’re down a goal or two or it’s 0-0 or 1-1,” Toews said. “We’ve got to really feed off that momentum.
“It’s only 30-some games into the season, but it’s huge.”
Toews and Saad each had a goal and an assist, and linemate Alex DeBrincat added two assists.
Corey Crawford had 35 stops for the Blackhawks, who had lost five in a row before their win streak.
Nick Bjugstad scored in the second for Florida, and Jamie McGinn put the Panthers in front with his fifth of the season 3:53 into the third. Reimer made 25 saves.
The Panthers salvaged a point after winning 2-1 in overtime in Detroit on Monday night.
“I think it was a gutsy effort on our part,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “We all played hard. We played 60 minutes.
“You know back-to-back is never easy, especially against a team like this.”
The Blackhawks had the better chances in the first and broke through when Saad opened the scoring with 3:11 left in the period.
Saad partially fanned on a one-timer at the edge of the crease after taking DeBrincat’s nifty feed from behind the net, but the puck slid in past Reimer’s outstretched left skate.
Bjugstad tied it 11:12 into the second when he beat Crawford low on the stick side on a breakaway. Bjugstad got the puck behind Chicago’s defense after Aleksander Barkov flipped it from inside the Panthers zone.
Anisimov missed on a point-blank chance late in the second, and McGinn scored in the third after the Blackhawks lost control of the puck just inside their blue line.
McGinn skated in for a 2-on-1 with Vincent Trochek, and then found himself alone on the left side of the crease after Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook fell down. He beat Crawford on the short side, lifting a shot between the goalie’s right shoulder and the left post.
“It was one of these games where we could have pulled out a win,” Reimer said, “but a well-earned point and (we) feel good about our effort.”
NOTES: Florida C Denis Malgin took a hard hit from Chicago D Connor Murphy early in the first and didn’t return. … Blackhawks D Jan Rutta left in the second period with an upper-body injury and is day to day. … Blackhawks LW Patrick Sharp played his 900th NHL game. … Chicago RW Richard Panik was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Panik has gone 21 games without a goal. … LW Ryan Hartman, a scratch the past two games, returned to the Blackhawks lineup. … Chicago D Cody Franson missed his second game with an upper-body injury. … Florida RW Evgenii Dadonov returned after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. … Panthers RW Radim Vrbata, who hasn’t scored since netting a hat trick on Oct. 26, sat out.
Panthers: At Colorado on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game trip.
Blackhawks: Visit Winnipeg on Wednesday.