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Blackhawks 3, Panthers 2: Kane’s goal in shootout the winner

Hawks star Patrick Kane slips puck past Panthers goalie Jacob 
Markstrom for lone goal shootout Thursday.  |  Alan

Hawks star Patrick Kane slips the puck past Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom for the lone goal of the shootout Thursday. | Alan Diaz~AP

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Tonight

BLACKHAWKS
AT LIGHTNING

The facts: 6:30, CSN, 720-AM.

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Updated: December 6, 2011 8:20AM



SUNRISE, Fla. — It’s early in
the season, but general manager Dale Tallon just might have something good brewing with the Florida Panthers.

The man who is said to have had the Midas touch in Chicago has put together an upstart team that gave the Blackhawks problems in a game Thursday the Panthers declared an early measuring stick.

After jumping out to a two-goal lead, the Hawks needed a goal by Patrick Kane in the shootout to
defeat the Panthers 3-2 at the BankAtlantic Center.

‘‘They played fast; they’re a quick team,’’ Kane said. ‘‘They were pretty good in transition. They obviously had some players who had been [with the Hawks] before and probably wanted to prove to us that they still deserve to be here or wanted to show us what we’re missing.

‘‘I don’t know if it becomes 2-0 early in the second [period] that we think it’s going to be a blowout or what, but they’re a good team.’’

A lot of attention was given to the former Hawks that Tallon brought to the Panthers. Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Jack Skille would have been lying if they said they didn’t feel any extra motivation against the Hawks.

Versteeg, for one, was a consistent threat, assisting on Stephen Weiss’ second-period goal that cut the Hawks’ lead to 2-1. He also keyed a rush in which the Hawks failed to clear the puck. The sequence ended in Ed Jovanovski’s tying goal with 2:04 left in regulation.

In the end, though, it was Hawks goalie Corey Crawford who really
stood out. Kane called him the Hawks’ best player by far Thursday, and it’s hard argue with that.

The Hawks were outshot 43-33, but Crawford came through with 41 saves. He turned away Kopecky, Marcel Goc and Tomas Fleisch-
mann in the shootout before Kane scored the only goal. It was the most action Crawford had seen this season.

‘‘It really depends on what kind of chances they were getting,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘Our guys were letting me see the puck, pushing guys out of the way. I saw pretty much every shot tonight, so that makes a difference.”

That being said, it’s safe to say the Hawks weren’t at their best, either.

‘‘You never want them to get to 40 [shots]; that’s a little high,’’ said veteran Sean O’Donnell, who played more than 21 minutes with defenseman Duncan Keith out with a hand injury.

‘‘That’s an improved team. They’re good. They come with speed. Their [defensemen] move the puck, and Campbell lugs it real well. .  .  . They were throwing a lot of pucks at the net. It was good that Corey did see a lot, but I think around 30, 32, 33 is a more reasonable number. Once you get in the 40s, you’re playing with fire.’’

But the Hawks survived. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa scored for the Hawks, and Andrew Brunette, Nick Leddy and Kane had assists. Jacob Markstrom made 31 saves for the Panthers.

‘‘The most important thing is we got the two points,’’ Kane said.



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