Published January 13, 2015
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored in the shootout, bailing out teammate Patrick Kane, as Chicago emerged with a 3-2 victory over Florida on Tuesday.
Kane had a prime chance to end the contest in overtime, but missed the net wide of the right post with a backhander on a clean breakaway with less than 80 seconds remaining.
His teammates provided the lone scores in the game-deciding breakaway competition, as the Blackhawks picked up their fifth win in the last six contests.
Toews and Bryan Bickell tallied in regulation, with Corey Crawford adding 20 saves.
"We had some good goaltending from (Crawford) in the shootout," Toews said. "It's nice to win one in the shootout."
Tomas Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov scored in the third period for the Panthers, who have dropped four of their last five.
Starter Tim Thomas made 25 stops, but left with less than three minutes to play in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury. Jacob Markstrom took over in the net and suffered the loss.
Chicago snapped the scoreless deadlock on the power play at 5:18 of the second, when Toews redirected a Duncan Keith point blast from the right side.
Jonathan Huberdeau was pulled down and his shot attempt obstructed by Chicago's Michal Handzus at the 9:24 mark, but the sophomore was denied at the left post by Crawford on the resulting penalty shot.
The 'Hawks then went up by two with 3:11 on the period clock on Bickell's wrister.
Florida halved its deficit when Fleischmann one-timed an Aleksander Barkov feed from the right circle with 9:04 played in the third, and the hosts tied the score less than three minutes later on a blistering drive from Kulikov.
Thomas was felled with 2:59 to go on a similar play to his original lower-body issue in Philadelphia on Oct. 8. He attempted to push off while on his belly in the crease, but was unable to and soon skated to the locker room for evaluation.
"I could see (Thomas) was uncomfortable...and I didn't want him to hurt himself a little more or not play to his full potential," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said, noting Thomas' condition would be updated Wednesday.
Chicago has won four in a row and six of the last eight meetings with Florida since February of 2009 ... Huberdeau has taken three penalty shots in his brief career and missed for the first time ... The reigning Calder Trophy winner scored on free shots against Philadelphia and Winnipeg during his rookie season ... The Blackhawks, whose mothers are accompanying the players on this brief road trip, play at Tampa Bay on Thursday ... Chicago improved to 2-2 in shootouts this season.