After a brutal performance on Sunday afternoon, the Blackhawks hoped for redemption against the Florida Panthers in the finale of their longest homestand of the season.
But when Patrick Kane suffered an upper-body injury early in the first period, the Hawks found themselves short-handed their leading scorer.
Coach Joel Quenneville went back to more conventional lines to start the night, and the first three shifts from the line of Kane, Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp were better than anything we saw from the Blackhawks against Boston. But on their third shift, Alex Petrovic sent Kane into the boards awkwardly. Kane didn’t return to the game.
Jonathan Toews scored on the power play – only a two-minute minor – on Petrovic to give the Blackhawks a rare first period lead.
In the second, Sharp and Richards continued their strong play. Late in the period, Sharp fired a shot on net that was kicked wide by Roberto Luongo. The rebound found the stick of Kris Versteeg, who snapped a shot past Luongo to extend the Hawks’ lead to 2-0. Sharp’s assist on the goal was the 500th of his Blackhawks career.
The Hawks dominated the game’s opening 40 minutes, out-shooting Florida 27-16 and holding a two-goal lead. Scott Darling had to make a few big saves in the first two periods, and was up to the challenge.
Unfortunately, the third period saw an attacking Panthers team catch up with the Hawks.
Jussi Jokinen made a smooth play, kicking the puck to his stick and flipping it past Darling to break the shutout. Just four minutes later, Vincent Trocheck shot the puck at the front of the net and it ricocheted off Duncan Keith’s skate and into the net.
Florida put as many shots on net in the third period as they had in the first two combined and were able to force overtime. In the extra session, Toews and Brandon Saad put pressure on Luongo with their first shift but the rest of the extra session was dominated by the visitors. Darling stood in and kept the puck out, though, and was able to force a shootout.
In the shootout, both Toews and Sharp converted and Darling made two stops to earn the second point. The Blackhawks finished their eight-game homestand with three wins, only one of which came in regulation.
Comcast SportsNet indicated during postgame coverage that Kane left the United Center at the end of the second period, and Quenneville said he had not yet spoken with Kane about the injury.
Coach Q on Kane’s status: “He might miss some time but we’ll know the extent of it tomorrow.” #Blackhawks
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 25, 2015
The Hawks will get another shot at the Panthers in Florida on Thursday night, and it will likely be without Kane.