RECAP: Chicago Blackhawks blank Panthers for sweep of two-game series

By Field Level Media
Mar 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA;Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (77) an right wing Patric Hornqvist (70) try to shoot the puck past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen (32) during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Kane and Brandon Hagel both had a goal and an assist to back a 41-save shutout by Kevin Lankinen as the host Chicago Blackhawks defeated Florida 3-0 on Thursday night for their second straight victory over the Panthers.

Chicago stymied six Florida power plays to remain perfect on a six-game homestand. The Panthers fell to 0-3 on a five-game road trip while losing for the fourth time in five games overall.

Lankinen stopped 17 shots in the second period, including a save on Jonathan Huberdeau as the Panthers were unable to capitalize on a 3-on-0 rush with just under three minutes remaining in the period. The Blackhawks exhaled midway through the period when Anthony Duclair hit the crossbar on a short-handed breakaway opportunity for the Panthers.

The Blackhawks earned their third shutout of the season, with Lankinen contributing his second. He previously blanked Detroit 2-0 on Feb. 17.

Chicago managed a meager 20 shots against Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, but a flurry early in the second period stood up as the only offense the club would need.

Kane opened the scoring on a power-play goal at 1:05 of the period, sliding in amid heavy traffic in front of the net and flipping a loose puck over a sprawling Bobrovsky. Pius Suter made it 2-0 Chicago just 2:29 later, kicking a rebound of an Alex DeBrincat shot to himself before gathering the puck and shooting it into an open net.

Hagel added an empty net goal at 18:36 of the third period.

Florida was blanked for the second time this season and first since falling 3-0 to the visiting Dallas Stars on Feb. 24.

Panthers leading scorer Alexsander Barkov missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Florida coach Joel Quenneville said before the game that Barkov is “feeling way better” after being a late scratch Tuesday, and the team will assess whether Barkov might play during the team’s back-to-back series in Dallas on Saturday and Sunday.

–Field Level Media