by Scott King
The Blackhawks returned to the United Center Tuesday night, following their annual circus trip, to take on the Florida Panthers. It was Chicago’s third straight game without their captain Jonathan Toews.
Hawks forward Richard Panik scored on a breakaway at 17:50 in the first period to open the scoring. Dennis Rasmussen sprung Panik for the assist. It was Panik’s 7th goal of the season and ended a 17-game goal drought.
“He flipped it over, the d-man touched it,” said the winger recalling the scoring play. “I hoped it was going to go by him and it went, so I got a breakaway. Good that I scored.”
“It feels good. Feels even better when you win,” Panik said. “Just going to keep focusing on the simple things, how I played in the beginning [of the season], just get in front of the net and go from there. The goal helps you build up your confidence. So I feel pretty good after that.”
Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr scored a power play goal early in third period to tie the game 1-1. It was goal #753 of his undeniable hall of fame caliber career.
Before the contest headed to a shootout, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford made a save in the final second of overtime on defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Crawford stopped 38 of 39 Panther shots through overtime.
Crawford also stopped both Florida shooters for the win after Artemi Panarin and Panik scored in the shootout.
“Really grateful Corey is behind us,” said Panarin following the game. “If it wasn’t for him, the last couple of games would have turned out differently. That’s for sure. We’re lucky to have him.”
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