Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane lead Chicago Blackhawks past Florida Panthers

By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange

CHICAGO -- Defenseman Brent Seabrook spotted Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane sprinting up the left side of the ice and seeking a stretch pass.

Seabrook transformed into an on-ice quarterback. Kane was his receiver.


"We worked on it yesterday in practice," Seabrook said. "'Kaner' got free there. I was just trying to make the pass and trying to find him. He ran a good route, and once he gets in, he's pretty hard to stop."

Kane's power-play goal proved to be the difference as the Blackhawks held on for a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Kane and Seabrook each finished with a goal and two assists, helping Chicago (4-3-0) earn its third consecutive win on home ice.

"Great pass," said Kane, who has five goals in seven games this season. "I was in motion, and it was right on my tape. It was a flat pass, and I just had to go in and do the rest on a breakaway."


Center Artem Anisimov added a goal, extending his point streak to three games for the Blackhawks.

"I thought we had a real strong game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

The same could not be said for Florida. Right winger Vincent Trocheck notched a goal and right winger Jaromir Jagr scored for the Panthers (3-3-1), who were whistled for eight penalties and fell to the Blackhawks for the eighth consecutive meeting.

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said too many careless penalties cost his team. He was forced to shuffle lines after top-line center Aleksander Barkov left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. Gallant said it was too soon to know the severity of Barkov's injury.

"You can't spend that much time on the (penalty kill)," Gallant said. "When you're killing penalties, you're not getting scoring chances. Sixteen minutes of a hockey game in your own zone really wears on you."

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots to earn his 150th career victory. Crawford improved to 5-1 with a .935 save percentage in seven career appearances against the Panthers.


Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo turned aside 24 of 27 shots.

Florida answered Kane's goal on a two-man advantage to slice the deficit to 3-2 with 12:36 to go in the third period. Jagr tapped in a loose puck near the crease for his fifth goal of the season and the 727th of his career.

Jagr said he felt as if referees called the game tightly against the Panthers.

"When you play the champions, they deserve the respect, so they got it," Jagr said.

Chicago opened the scoring on an aggressive rush toward the net by Anisimov with 15:58 remaining in the first period. Kane slid a pass to Anisimov in the neutral zone, and the second-line center sprinted past a pair of Panthers defensemen before punching a low shot past Luongo.

Thirty-four seconds later, Florida evened the score at 1. Crawford stopped a wrist shot by Trocheck but could not corral the rebound, and the winger knocked in the loose puck on a second effort in front of the crease.

Seabrook gave Chicago a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal with 16:09 remaining in the second period. Anisimov set a screen in front of Luongo, and Seabrook ripped a slap shot from the blue line that deflected off the stick of Florida center Dave Bolland before skipping into the net.


Despite the win, Kane said, work remained for the Blackhawks.

"Any time you get two (power-play goals) in a game, you're going to be happy with it," Kane said. "But we had a lot more opportunities. It would have been nice to get some more sustained pressure and get some shots at the net. It's early in the season. It's something we're working on."

NOTES: Panthers C Aleksander Barkov left Thursday's game in the second period because of an upper-body injury. ... Blackhawks D Duncan Keith missed his first game since undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman, is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. ... Panthers D Steven Kampfer made his season debut in place of D Alex Petrovic, who was a healthy scratch. ... Blackhawks D David Rundblad replaced Keith in the lineup after sitting out the previous five games. ... Panthers LW Shawn Thornton was scratched for the second consecutive game. ... Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch for the first time this season.


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