Chicago's Crawford hands Panthers another shutout
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 11:25 PM
CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford made 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane had a goal and assist each to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.
Viktor Stalberg and Tomas Kopecky also scored for Chicago, which got two assists each from Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Crawford, who made his 18th straight start, had to block only a few tough chances to post his fifth NHL shutout.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 27 shots, but the Panthers were shut out for the second straight night. Florida opened a season-high, five-game road trip with a 1-0 loss at New York to the Rangers on Tuesday.
The Blackhawks played their first game without leading goal-scorer Patrick Sharp, who is expected to be sidelined at least two weeks with an injured left knee. Sharp, injured in a collision at Phoenix on Sunday, has 34 goals and 34 assists in 71 games.
Stephen Weiss, who leads the Panthers with 49 points, sat out his second game with an injured leg.
Chicago outshot Florida 12-8 in the scoreless first period.
Troy Brouwer had the Blackhawks' best chance when he jumped on a rebound of Seabrook's shot, but lofted the puck on top of the net.
Aided by three power plays, the Blackhawks picked up the pressure in the second and outshot Florida 12-5. Early in the period, Vokoun made several close-in saves, including two against former Panthers forward Michael Frolik and one on Marian Hossa.
Seabrook opened the scoring with 5:19 left in the second during Chicago's third advantage of the period. He fired a low, one-timed shot past Vokoun from the left circle after taking a feed from Keith.
The Blackhawks broke it open with three goals in the third.
Stalberg made it 2-0 just 46 seconds into the period. Left open at the right edge of the crease, he took Toews' cross-crease feed and fired a shot that struck Vokoun and continued past him.
Kane extended Chicago's lead to 3-0 with 7:56 remaining. He partially fanned on a shot from the right circle, but the attempt fooled Vokoun and slipped between his pads. Kopecky completed the scoring from the slot with 2:55 left.
Notes: Blackhawks D Brian Campbell returned to the lineup. He had skated just a few shifts of one game after injuring his foot on March 8. Blackhawks C Dave Bolland missed his fifth game because of a concussion and is out indefinitely. ... With Sharp out, Stalberg joined Toews and Patrick Kane on Chicago's top line. ... Chicago C Marcus Kruger, 20, made his NHL debut. Kruger, the Hawks' fifth-round draft pick (149th overall) in 2009, joined the Blackhawks from Djurgardens of the Swedish League. ... The Panthers made their first visit to Chicago since Dec. 16, 2007.