Sunday, March 26, 2017

Panthers Pounce The Blackhawks, 7-0

By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)

Patrick Kane in a scuffle?  Richard Panik with a fight and a game misconduct.  Marcus Kruger and Ryan Hartman both, with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.  It was that kind of night for the Chicago Blackhawks as their focus fell apart half way through the second period as the Florida Panthers took full advantage and coasted to a 7-0 victory.

After trailing 1-0 in the first minute of the second period, half way through the period, Ryan Hartman was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he didn't care for the hooking penalty he had just received.  After the first penalty was killed, Marcus Kruger was called for interference setting up the damn to break for the 5-on-3 opportunity for Florida.  Jonathan Huberdeau tallied on the power play.  Less than two minutes after that, Jonathan Marchsssault scored his first of three, his first Hat Trick, natural at that, to extend the Panther lead to 3-0.  

This, an unfortunate, but familiar position the Blackhawks have found themselves in lately this week, was something discouraging, but not something they couldn't overcome.  They had trailed two of their last three games by 2 and 3 goals heading into the final period, but still managed 3 of 4 points in those games.

This, was not one of those nights.  Florida continued their assault on the Hawks with four more goals in the period.  Corey Crawford saved 21 of 25 shots before being relieved by Scott Darling, who saved 3 of 6 shots.  Florida golaie, James Reimer earned his first shutout as a Panther, stopping 25 shots. 
  In his press conference, Coach Joel Quenneville said, "That was an ugly, ugly game...".  Jonathan Toews pointed out, "If we continue to play like that and think we're going to turn it on come playoff time, we've got another thing coming."

It's good to get your face bloodied a bit after winning 17 of 20 games, 11 of 12, on the road.  It makes a team humble.  Every team will soil the bed in a game here and there.  Better now, than in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks still hold an 8 point lead over the Minnesota Wild, who have now lost 10 of their last 13 games.  The Blackhawks will travel to Tampa Bay to battle the Lightning on Monday.


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