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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Thoughts On Victory Against Panthers

By Sean Fitzgerald

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Florida Panthers at the United Center on Thursday night by a 3-2 score. The game was closer than the Blackhawks would have liked considering they outshot the Panthers 27 to 18.

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Here are five quick thoughts on the victory:

1. The second line continues to be the Blackhawks’ best line. The second line combined for five points in the victory. Patrick Kane had one goal and two assists. Artem Anisimov scored the game’s first goal and Artemi Panarin had the primary assist on Brent Seabrook‘s power play goal. Panarin had several other A-plus scoring chances in this game.

2. The powerplay still needs work. The Blackhawks converted two of eight powerplays. They had six chances in the second period alone and only converted one. The Blackhawks in the Joel Quenneville era have never been good on the powerplay. An issue could be that the Blackhawks have a lot of new players. The Blackhawks second powerplay unit is composed of players that were not on the NHL roster last season.

3. The Blackhawks continue to have letdowns after scoring. It was an unfortunately frequent occurrence last season when the Blackhawks scored that they would give up the equalizer shortly thereafter. It happened a few times in the playoffs, especially against the Anaheim Ducks. Tonight was the same old story, as Anisimov scored 4:02 into the first period and Vincent Trocheck scored 34 seconds later to tie the game.

4. Jonathan Toews is struggling to score. Toews had two A-plus chances to score goals. He netted four shots for the night in 21:33 of ice time. He was denied by Roberto Luongo on all four of his shots. Toews on the season still has zero goals. He keeps trying to score through the 5-hole, so he might want to consider shooting at a different spot on the goalie. Toews does have three assists on the season. Toews’ struggles also could be linked to not having a consistent left winger. The Blackhawks tried Viktor Tikhonov on the first line tonight.

5. David Rundblad still sucks. Rundblad, who had not appeared in a regular-season game since the opener, returned to the lineup tonight. Rundblad was out of position on several plays and committed turnovers in his own end. Rundblad was a minus-1 in 14:43 of ice time. Rundblad played the fewest minutes among the six blueliners. The play of Rundblad underlines the fact that the Blackhawks are thin on the blueline.

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