© 2023 BSN LIVE, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Last season, the Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing the regular season with the most points in the regular season. They beat the Washington Capitals in the first round before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the offseason, they fired head coach Andrew Burnette and replaced him with Paul Maurice, then traded Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames for Matthew Tkachuk.
The moves haven’t worked out as planned. The Panthers have underachieved under Maurice and entered tonight’s tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks four points out of a wild card spot. Even with the desperation of fighting for their postseason lives, Florida had trouble solving the mystery that was Petr Mrazek in net.
A pair of Blackhawks scored their third goal of the season to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage in the first period. First, defenseman Caleb Jones joined the rush and beat Sergei Bobrovsky upstairs.
Late in the opening frame, Boris Katchouk finished off a nice passing play with a redirect to double the Blackhawks’ lead.
It looked like Mrazek was going to steal one in South Beach and make us itchy about the tank standings. However, the Panthers had different ideas and stormed back in the third period. The two Sams, Bennett and Reinhart, scored 29 seconds apart to even things up. Less than four minutes later, Eetu Luostarinen blasted one past Mrazek to give the Panthers a 3-2. The Blackhawks weren’t dead yet, as Cole Guttman tied the game with 45 seconds left in regulation as Mrazek watched from the bench for the extra attacker. In overtime, defenseman Brandon Montour earned the extra point for the Panthers with a sweet shot and celebration.
For the second straight game, the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead after the first period. The game in Detroit wasn’t as lopsided as the final 40 minutes were tonight. After the first period, the Blackhawks were outshot 34-17, but Mrazek kept them in it.
Jay’s Hit: One for the ‘Remember When’ File
We’ve discussed it on the podcast a few times now, and we’re here to let you know it is a real, living, breathing thing. Of course, I’m talking about our running ‘Remember When’ Google Doc file. If you’re not hip to the concept, it’s the way Greg, Mario, and I keep track of some of the crazy things we want to look back on once the Blackhawks are good again.
Friday’s lineup was an automatic entry. With Patrick Kane, Max Domi, Jake McCabe, and Sam Laffery traded, and Jonathan Toews still out, the lineup was a bit comical. Friday, it went to another level. With Connor Murphy missing the next two games as he tends to a personal issue and Alex Stalock out after #AirplaneSushi…well…just take a look for yourself.
Lukas Reichel-Philipp Kurashev-Andreas Athanasiou
Tyler Johnson (A)-Cole Guttman-Taylor Raddysh
Boris Katchouk-Jujhar Khaira-Joey Anderson
Caleb Jones-Seth Jones (A)
Jarred Tinordi (A)-Nikita Zaitsev
Filip Roos-Ian Mitchell
Zach Andrews (the EBUG)
Yep…Zach Andrews. He’s the 31-year-old emergency backup goalie the team was forced to sign before today’s game. Yep…that’s alternate captain Jarred Tinordi. Yep…that’s the almost-forgotten Filip Roos, who saved a goal with a tremendous swat at a puck that was headed to the net.
The craziest part of this? The Blackhawks had a lead for most of this game.
Hockey is weird.
Mario’s Hit: Lukas Reichel continues to show his NHL readiness
There was a portion of Blackhawks fans that started to worry about Lukas Reichel when he started his NHL career with the organization slow out of the gate. It wasn’t until his two most recent stints with the club that he has started to show his progression from last season.
While he didn’t register a point tonight, there were still flashes of that offensive skill and awareness in his own zone that make you excited for his future. The pace of the game is not above his head. He’s making the effort in the hard areas of the ice and, to my surprise, is coming away winning more puck battles than he is losing them. While he continues to make his body more NHL-ready physically, his mind is there.
Greg’s Hit: Joey Anderson, Next Man Up
When the Blackhawks traded Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the two draft picks acquired got fans excited. However, Joey Anderson is another player looking to take full advantage of the situation in Chicago and, so far, that is exactly what he’s doing. He is following the lead of guys like Lafferty, Max Domi, and Taylor Raddysh by making the most of the opportunity the Blackhawks are giving him.
Anderson had three goals and an assist in his 20 games with the Maple Leafs before the trade. On Wednesday, he scored his first goal with the Blackhawks in his sixth game with the team. He made it back-to-back games with points by setting up Katchouk’s first-period goal.
The 24-year-old winger has fit in nicely on the fourth line as the chemistry between him, Katchouk, and Jujhar Khaira was evident on the goal. In addition to his assist, he had one shot on goal on three shot attempts. He is getting a chance to be a bigger contributor here than he ever would have gotten on the far-superior Maple Leafs roster. Anderson will be on the NHL roster for the rest of the season, let’s see what he does with the opportunity.
Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!
Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!
Just drop your email below!