For the streaking Chicago Blackhawks, tonight’s game should have been an easy win. The Florida Panthers, who were coming off of a streak of their own (a 5-game losing streak, to be exact) are ranked 13th in the standings in the East and 26th overall. But maybe it was the Panthers’ determination to snap out of that slump, and the Blackhawks complacency with their 4th place ranking in the West, that helped steer the game in an unexpected direction.
The Panthers’ David Booth drew first blood less than 5 minutes into the game. It was followed by Clay Wilson’s soon after, and yet another goal was contributed by Marty Reasoner before the first period wrapped up. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who has been outstanding in his last 10 games, was pulled and veteran Marty Turco was set to mind the net for the remainder of the game.
Turco did the job well, not allowing another Panthers goal for the following 40 minutes. And clearly, the shock of three unanswered goals by the opposing team woke up the sluggish Blackhawks, who fired back in the second. Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa narrowed the scoreboard to a 1-goal deficit.
Unfortunately, the Blackhawks offense was unable to tie up the game, despite going on a power play in the third, and the Panthers managed to hang on for the victory.
The loss did not help the Blackhawks’ situation in the log-jammed Western conference, where the only thing seperating the defending Cup champs from the 8th place L.A. Kings is a measly 3 points. Luckily, the rest of the teams in the tight race for a playoff berth were idle today, keeping the Blackhawks seated comfortably in 4th.
With only 15 games left in the regular season, the Blackhawks can’t afford to lose games in order to to hang on to a guaranteed playoff berth.
About the Author
Written by Anna Santiago
26-year old sports writer from Calgary, Alberta. A hockey and basketball lover above all.