Chicago Blackhawks (36-20-5) at Florida Panthers (26-21-13)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 26, 2015, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers +126 / Chicago Blackhawks -139 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
If the city of Chicago was hoping that their hockey club would be able to make them forget about the Derrick Rose saga they’ve got another thing coming to them. The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Wednesday that winger Patrick Kane would miss the next 6-10 weeks after suffering an upper body injury. It’s a blow to the club for the stretch run and while one wouldn’t think that it would affect their ability to make the post season or not, stranger things have happened. The biggest concern with this injury is whether or not Kane will miss any playoff games. The time table puts him right at the beginning of the playoffs on the low end, with the potential of missing an entire round or more if it runs longer. Expect the Blackhawks to look to make a trade and bring in another scorer to add to the lineup to try and supplement some of what they’re losing with Kane being sidelined. Tuesday night the Blackhawks almost blew a two goal lead on home ice to the Florida Panthers, but they found a way to come through with the extra point in the shootout. Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg scored for Chicago before watching as the Panthers rallied back with two goals in a little over four minutes in the third period. Jussi Jokinen scored his sixth goal of the season and Vincent Trocheck added his fifth to get the Panthers into overtime. Toews and Patrick Sharp both scored for the Blackhawks as Scott Darling stopped both shooters he faced to lock up the 3-2 win. Now the two clubs will meet again in Sunrise on Thursday night with the Panthers looking to return the favor. Three straight losses really put a damper on what could have been an excellent road trip for Florida had they just found a way to steal one of those last three games. Losing to Ottawa was a big blow, and though they rallied on Tuesday night to steal a point the Panthers weren’t able to get the win. Florida currently finds itself two points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot but they keep wasting valuable opportunities to overtake them. Boston is not the same club that we’ve seen in recent years but there still should be enough pedigree in that lineup where they find a way to start playing some better hockey down the stretch. Florida doesn’t want to have missed their chance by continuing to stub their toe game after game while the Bruins do the same. This is a huge chance for the Panthers as they embark on a seven game home stand that runs through March 12th. While there are games against challenging opponents like Chicago, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, and the New York Islanders, the Panthers also have games with Buffalo, Dallas, and Toronto.
The Panthers aren’t being as undervalued as they were on Tuesday night on the road when they almost pulled one out against the Hawks. If they show up before the third period in this one they’ve got a good chance to take two points from Chicago.