Teuvo Teravainen got the party started in his return to the NHL lineup, and the Blackhawks handled their business in regulation against the Panthers on Thursday night.
Teravainen scored his third goal in the NHL on his first shift in the game, a strong shift that featured big hits by Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell. That line was active all night, with Shaw and Bickell playing as consistently physical as they have the entire regular season. Shaw finished the game with eight hits.
The Hawks allowed only four shots to reach Corey Crawford in the first period.
In the second period, Brandon Saad scored his 19th goal of the season to tie his career high. Chicago dominated most of the second period, but a late flurry from the Panthers at least put a few shots in the box score for the hosts. Jimmy Hayes exchanged pleasantries with Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews at one point, but nothing came of it.
Late in the third, Marian Hossa gave up a shot at an empty net and let Toews score his 19th of the season to put the game away. Toews had a dominant performance, winning 21 of 28 at the dot and tying Seabrook with a team-high four shots on net. Hossa had two assists, and Saad added an assist to his goal in a two-point evening as well.
Crawford stopped all 20 he faced for the shutout. He was good when he needed to be, and the defensive effort in front of him was much improved.
Speaking of defensemen, Tim Erixon made his semi-annual appearance on the ice and skated 12:19 in a likely showcase for a potential trade. David Rundblad was credited with a team-high five blocked shots and picked up an assist and two hits in 14:19 while Michal Rozsival watched from the press box. Kyle Cumiskey stopped the best chance Florida had to score a goal in the game, blocking a shot in front of an open net. He blocked three total in 18:14 in the victory.
During the game, Hawks GM Stan Bowman met with the media to discuss the upcoming trade deadline. He told the media a few intriguing nuggets, including:
“I think I’ve talked to almost every team in the last couple of days.”
“We’re getting pretty close. But until it’s done, it’s not done.”
The Blackhawks have reportedly upped their efforts to get Antoine Vermette from Arizona.