B.L.F. (Blowin' Leads Fast): Panthers 6, Blackhawks 3 - March 15, 2021

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B.L.F. (Blowin’ Leads Fast): Panthers 6, Blackhawks 3 – March 15, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have an uncanny ability to blow multi-goal leads this season. Since February 1st, Chicago has blown seven of nine multi-goal leads (excluding empty-net goals). On Monday night, it was the Blackhawks leading 3-1 in the second period only to blow the lead with five unanswered goals from the Panthers, sealing a 6-3 loss. It’s the fourth loss to the Panthers this season (0-3-1) and sees Chicago’s record fall to 14-11-5 on the year. They see their cushion in the Central Division playoff race take a hit, sitting in fourth-place with 33 points and a .550 points percentage, just ahead of the Dallas Stars at .500 for points percentage.

Chicago is now 10-3-2 this season when scoring the game’s first goal, having lost both of their past two games to the Panthers after getting the first goal. They are also now 10-2-2 in the second game of two-game mini-series’ against the same team. Another stat update, the Blackhawks were out-shot 36-29 and have been out-shot in seven of their last eight games.

https://twitter.com/NBCSBlackhawks/status/1371604307729059841?s=20

Things got off to a great start with David Kämpf stripping Anthony Duclair of the puck and finding Patrick Kane for the game’s opening goal. And with that, Kane snapped a six-game goalless drought, while tallying career point No. 1,064 (moving him into fifth all-time amongst U.S.-born players).

The Panthers would tie the game on a pinball goal to make it 1-1 into the first intermission.

Chicago eventually jumped out to their 3-1 lead with goals from rookies Philipp Kurashev and Brandon Hagel in the second period.

Kurashev tallied his seventh goal of the season to make it a 2-1 game. Prior to tonight’s game, Kurashev had only found the back of the net twice since February 2nd.

Hagel notches his third goal of the season in unconventional fashion, with the primary assist coming from Dominik Kubalík. Hagel and Kubalík have combined to be a pretty formidable duo this season, complimenting the top-line duo of Kane and DeBrincat.

Less than three minutes later, the Panthers scored twice to tie it 3-3 into the third period. Then, in the final 20 minutes, the Panthers bully the Blackhawks and pot three more goals to close it out 6-3. Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves on 34 shots, seeing his record fall to 10-6-4 on the year. He wasn’t without fault on the night, but he played well enough for the Blackhawks to be in the game late, prior to shorthanded goal in the third period.

The biggest problem with the Blackhawks tonight was special teams. Chicago went 0-for-4 on the powerplay, allowing a shorthanded goal from Aleksander Barkov and having just four shots on goal over the course of the eight total powerplay minutes. On the penalty-kill, Chicago went just 1-for-3. This season, the Blackhawks are just 8-for-13 (61.5%) on the penalty-kill against the Panthers. Barkov, who killed the Blackhawks again tonight, has three goals and six assists in four games against Chicago this season.

Final Thoughts

•   Play Brandon Hagel on the powerplay. Things are happening with him on the ice. I don’t know why he is not getting a chance on the powerplay. After tonight, any changes should be on the table for the Blackhawks’ man-advantage units.

•  Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves on 29 shots faced, has won six games in-a-row, and is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts for the Panthers.

•   The Blackhawks have earned just one point against the Panthers this season, going 0-3-1 in four games. Against the Lightning this season, the Blackhawks are 1-3-1, making Chicago 1-6-2 against the state of Florida in 2021. Good news, the Blackhawks take on the Lightning next. Woot.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.