SUNRISE, Fla. – After a taxing win against a reworked team, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville gave the credit to his goalie.
Patrick Kane scored the only goal in a shootout, leading Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks past the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night.
Crawford stopped 41 shots and all three shootout attempts before Kane’s backhander went through Jacob Markstrom’s legs. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa scored in regulation for Chicago.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game, it was going to be a tough game,” Quenneville said. “To me, at the end of the night, it was a goalie win. Crow was great for us and kept us in there. We tried to win in regulation there, but we were hemmed in our end pretty well. It wasn’t pretty, but give Crow some credit.”
Ed Jovanovski and Stephen Weiss scored for Florida, while Markstrom made 31 saves.
Florida tied the score with 2:04 left in regulation when Jovanovski deflected a shot from Dmitry Kulikov and tipped it past Crawford.
“Any time you spot a very good team two goals it’s tough to climb back into it,” Jovanovski said. “We found a way, and forced overtime. It was a good point for us.”
Trailing 2-0, the Panthers scored late in the second period. Weiss took a pass from Kris Versteeg between the circles. His first shot bounced off the skate of a Chicago defenceman, but Weiss grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 18:19.
“I don’t know if it becomes 2-0 in the second and we think it’s going to be a blowout or what, but they’re a good team, it’s a different team over there,” Kane said. “I think they’ve got some young guys and some older guys, too, that have a lot to prove. So good for them they’re getting better, but we’re happy with the win.”
Chicago took a 1-0 lead on Toews’ goal at 4:04 of the first. Kulikov passed the puck in his own zone but it was picked off by Andrew Brunette. He passed to Toews in front and he pushed the puck past Markstrom.
The Blackhawks stretched their lead to 2-0 in the second. Kane passed the puck across the ice to Hossa at the bottom of the right circle. His slap shot beat Markstrom at 4:51.
“I think we were a little sloppy toward the end,” Hossa said. “They were all over us at the end, but the good thing is we found a way to win in the shootout and that’s what good teams do.”
Hossa has four goals and an assist in the last four games against Florida.
“It could be the air here,” he joked. “I don’t know, but whatever it is, too bad we don’t play more games here.”
The Blackhawks are in the beginning of a stretch in which they will play 10 of 13 games on the road.
“We’re away from home for almost the whole month,” Crawford said. “It’s good to start it off, but we’ve got a lot more games on the road to go.”
NOTES: Chicago D Duncan Keith, who left last Monday’s game with an upper-body injury, was scratched. … Daniel Carcillo was back in the Blackhawks’ lineup after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal check on the Hurricanes’ Joni Pitkanen. … Florida LW Sean Bergenheim was back on the ice after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. … Panthers LW Tomas Fleischmann extended his points streak to six games. … Florida D Erik Gudbranson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Florida’s Brian Campbell, Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky all faced their former team for the first time.