The Chicago Blackhawks won their second game in a row Thursday night at the United Center by beating the Florida Panthers. Kevin Lankinen kept the Panthers off the scoreboard in the first half despite two missed shots. Lankinen made 13 saves in the first, including three in the four-minute overtime period.

Offensively, the Blackhawks didn’t do much in the opening minutes. They produced seven shots on goal and only one scoring chance in the period.

Connor Murphy played more than seven minutes and blocked four shots in the first half.

Kane scores two points in two minutes

At the end of the first period, Adam Boqvist was taken down in the neutral zone and the Blackhawks started the second period with their first power play.

When Brandon Hagel and Carl Soderberg confused Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Patrick Kane got the puck and scored the first goal of the game. There was contact with Bobrowski, but the Panthers decided not to contest the game.

It was Kane’s 13th birthday. But it was his passing motion that extended the Blackhawks’ lead to two goals two minutes later.

Kane went to the blue line and put two Panthers defenders on him before finding Alex DeBrincat on the cross ice. Pius Suter got a perfectly placed rebound from DeBrincat and the Hawks led by two goals. Souter is currently on a back-to-back goal series and leads the NHL rookie list with ten goals on the season.

Carpenter’s waste vinegar

The Blackhawks’ toughness has been questioned several times this season, including their two defeats against Tampa Bay last week. Head coach Jeremy Colliton told his players not to get involved, but it affected their play while the Lightning made it easy for them.

In today’s game, Ryan Carpenter showed that the Blackhawks are ready to compete. Two minutes after Carpenter took the lead, he was tackled by Panthers linebacker McKenzie Weegar. Carpenter poked the ball with two right feet and the Blackhawks had their second chance of the game when Wigan were awarded a whistled penalty.

Blackhawks power failure

Just like in the first period, the Blackhawks lost twice in the middle period. Fortunately for the Hawks, Lankinen stood on his head and kept the Panthers scoreless. He stopped all 17 shots he faced in that period, including six saves on one goal against. The Panthers looked for opportunities to get into the end zone, but Lankinen answered every chance.

Late in the second period, the Panthers had their best chance to win the game. Murphy fumbled the puck as his teammates switched places, and the Panthers took a 3-0 lead. Again, Lankinen prevented the ball from going into the goal. The Finnish goalie stopped all 30 shots in two periods.

Lankinen stops them all

The Blackhawks took two more penalty shots in the third period, but Lankinen continued to keep the door shut, registering his second shutout of his career with 11 more saves in the final period. His 41 saves are the highest in the NHL this season.

Brandon Hagel scored late in the game into an empty net to give the Blackhawks a 3-0 victory.

The Blackhawks are now 16-13-5 on the season and enter the fourth and final game of the Discover Central Division playoffs with a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

What now?

Saturday, the Blackhawks play the third of six games against the Predators in their home opener. The shuffleboard release is scheduled for 7pm CDT. The Blackhawks are 0-2 against the Predators this season. The last meeting took place on the 27th. The month of January ended with a 1-2 loss.

Stay tuned to the Four Feathers podcast for more analysis and commentary on the Blackhawks throughout the season.


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