|Chicago Blackhawks (32-14-4 / 68 PTS) Florida Panthers (26-15-5 / 57 PTS)|
|Friday, January 22nd, 2016 – 7:30 PM EST|
|BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL|
Top 5 Scorers
|1. Jaromir Jagr||15||17||32|
|2. Jonathan Huberdeau||7||24||31|
|3. Aleksander Barkov||12||16||28|
|4. Jussi Jokinen||8||18||26|
|5. Reilly Smith||13||11||24|
|1. Patrick Kane||30||42||72|
|2. Artemi Panarin||16||29||45|
|3. Jonathan Toews||19||16||35|
|4. Brent Seabrook||7||24||31|
|5. Duncan Keith||7||23||30|
Expected Starting Goaltenders
Between the Lines
The Panthers will face the Blackhawks for the 2nd and final time this season when Chicago visits the BB&T Center. The Panthers last played 4 days ago when they dropped their 4th game in a row to the Oilers after a 12-game winning streak. The Oilers got two goals from Taylor Hall, another from Jordan Eberle, and an empty-netter. The Panthers came alive in the 3rd period and nearly tied the game after Reilly Smith and Quinton Howden each scored a goal less than 3 minutes apart. Florida had 4 power play opportunites and was unable to convert on any of them, and that ended up being the difference despite the Panthers’ lackluster effort early on.
The good news for the Panthers is that Aaron Ekblad is expected to return to the lineup against the Blackhawks on Friday after missing 4 games with concussion symptoms. Ekblad was cleared to play on Wednesday and has participated in two straight team practices since. On Thursday, the Panthers placed Willie Mitchell on the injured reserve and recalled Dylan Olsen from the Portland Pirates. Mitchell is expected to miss at least the next two games with an undisclosed injury. Erik Gudbranson is also expected to play Friday despite crashing into the boards hard on Monday.
Amidst trade rumors, Brandon Pirri is scratched for Friday’s game, although head coach Gerard Gallant says it’s to help him bounce back from some tough games.
The Panthers will need to be up to the challenge as the Blackhawks are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Lightning on Thursday night which ended their own 12-game winning streak. Right winger Patrick Kane leads the league in goals (30), assists (42), and points (72). The Panthers and the Blackhawks last met back on October 22nd when Chicago walked away with a 3-2 victory.
Last Game Played
The Panthers faced the Oilers on Monday for their 46th game of the season and lost 4-2. You can find our recap by clicking here.