(SportsNetwork.com) – The Chicago Blackhawks aim to avoid posting their
longest losing streak in over a year on Tuesday night when they kick off a
home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers.
The Blackhawks have lost a season-high three in a row to fall to 2-2-3 on an
eight-game homestand that wraps tonight. Chicago will then visit Florida on
A 6-2 setback to the Boston Bruins on Sunday has the Blackhawks looking to
switch things up and netminder Scott Darling will start tonight. Darling, who
also signed a two-year extension upon being called up later on Sunday, is
5-2-0 in seven career starts with a 1.97 goals against average and .937 save
Antti Raanta was reassigned to the minors to make room for Darling and he
allowed a pair of goals on 16 shots Sunday in relief of starter Corey
Crawford, who was blitzed for four goals on 14 shots faced.
Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell each had a goal for the Blackhawks, who
haven’t lost four a row since Jan. 22-28 of last year.
“There’s not much to say after a game like this,” said Chicago head coach Joel
Quenneville. “First period we played OK, but it went downhill quickly in the
second. You can never be happy about anything that happens in a game like
The Blackhawks also will be without defenseman Johnny Oduya for a few weeks
due to an upper-body injury. They lead the fourth-place Winnipeg Jets by just
four points in the Central Division and sit five points out of second place.
The ‘Hawks do come in riding a five-game series win streak over the Panthers
and have won each of the previous three meetings in Chicago. They have not
lost in the Windy City to Florida since Dec. 16, 2007.
The Panthers do have a credited road win over the Blackhawks following a
victory over them on Oct. 2, 2009 in Finland.
Florida will try to finish off a five-game road trip on a positive note before
beginning a seven-game homestand on Thursday. The Panthers won the first two
of their swing before a 4-1 loss at Ottawa on Saturday and a 5-1 setback to
Pittsburgh the following day.
The Panthers have lost five of their past seven games and saw goaltender Al
Montoya yield five goals on 26 shots faced, while Penguins netminder Marc-
Andre Fleury posted 34 saves.
“Fleury was the difference the first part of the game,” Florida coach Gerard
Scottie Upshall had the only goal of the game for the Panthers, who trail the
Bruins by three points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern
Roberto Luongo is likely to start tonight for Florida and is 15-11-2 lifetime
versus the Blackhawks with a 2.24 GAA, .928 save percentage and four shutouts
in 30 games (29 starts).