Blackhawks drop opener to Panthers in shootout

By Jeffrey Bartl

Well, that pretty much sucked.

After 55 shots, the Blackhawks came away with one point, dropping a shootout in the season opener to the Florida Panthers. Too bad Tomas Vokoun decided to play like Georges Vezina today.

From brief conversations, Facebook posts and minor reading, people are pinning this loss on Cristobal Huet. Granted, the guy has never blown our skirts up in a shootout. But of the three goals Huet gave up, I’m not convinced he could have done much on any of them.

Florida tied the game 3-3 with under three minutes left in the third when David Booth rocketed a shot into the top right corner past Huet — after a failed clearing attempt put Huet in a pretty bad spot. The rest of the neighborhood heard me cursing Brent Seabrook’s name when he pushed a pass at the speed of Yokozuna running the 40-yard dash in Dave Bolland’s direction — who was being converged on by two Panthers. Florida regained control, and Booth tied it up late.

(Is anyone else noticing that Seabrook has been good for one pretty bad mistake per week, dating back to last season? I feel myself saying, “Damnit, Seabrook,” quite a bit. Maybe I’m just being too hard on him.)

The Good:

  • Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the season coming out of the sin bin, undressing Vokoun and starting quickly like I predicted he would. The kid was everywhere today, and he made a case for my prediction of him reaching the 40-goal plateau this season. Kane got robbed on Dustin Byfuglien’s goal when Kane’s shot hit the crossbar and Byfuglien cleaned it up. Kaner could have easily walked away with three points today.
  • 55 f-ing shots, including 24 in the third period. Give me this every night, and the Blackhawks will probably set a record for standings points. Well, every night except tonight.
  • Third-period domination. After a first period that was about as fun as installing a screen door in a submarine, the Blackhawks controlled both the second and third periods. Problem? Florida took advantage of their opportunities and the ‘Hawks’ mistakes.

While I’m pissed off, it’s good to finally get the first one out of the way and get moving from here. Just do me a favor and stop cursing Huet for this loss. Yes, he went to his knees faster than a $6 hooker in the shootout. But, the Blackhawks could have easily been down by three goals at the end of the first period if it weren’t for Huet.

Same time, same place tomorrow.

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