Florida Panthers Lose in Shootout to Blackhawks | February 29th, 2020

Florida Panthers shootout Blackhawks

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 29: Michael Matheson #19 of the Florida Panthers shoots and scores a goal to tie the game and send it into overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center on February 29, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sunrise, FL – The Chicago Blackhawks came into town and took two points from the Florida Panthers with a 3-2 shootout win. The loss is the sixth straight at home for the Cats. Looking to make up some ground in the standings, the Florida Panthers offense could not get it going tonight against a locked-in Corey Crawford at net for the Blackhawks. Crawford made 38 saves in regulation and stopped both attempts in the shootout.

“We have to capitalize on our chances. I’m trying to do what I can to help this team win and collect points.” Matt Hoffman said postgame. 

Hoffy did keep his hot streak going with a goal (27th on the season) and an assist tonight but was denied in the shootout by Crawford. Hoffman came into the night on a six-game point streak, including one goal in four straight games.

Drake Caggiula gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead at 6:21 of the second period when he tipped Connor Murphy’s shot from the point. After that, the Cats offense went into overdrive. Outshooting Chicago 33-6 after Caggiula’s goal. The offense hasn’t been the issue this season but tonight they just couldn’t get it clicking until the waning seconds of the third when Mike Matheson blasted one by Crawford to tie it up at 2. 

Who’s to blame?

In what’s been a challenging first season for Sergei Bobrovsky, the highly touted Russian free-agent acquisition. Bobrovsky did have a solid game at net saving 29 shots on the night. The two goals scored by the Blackhawks do make me double down that the blame is not just on Big Bob but on the defense as a whole. If you recall, we went through this last season with Luongo and Reimer. Plenty of times the offense would put up goals only to have inconsistent defense let teams back in the game. Tonight Bobrovsky kept the Cats in the game with some huge clutch saves in the third and OT. Unfortunately for Bob and the Cats, Toews and Kane are each Conn Smythe Trophy winners and two of the baddest dudes in the NHL not named Ovechkin or Crosby. 

The Panthers are now three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division and the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Cats look to snap this home losing streak when they host the Calgary Flames on Sunday. 

Heroes Among Us 

The Florida Panthers honored WWII veteran Albert Weintraub. He served in the United States Army for nearly 3 years. Twenty-three and a half of those months were spent in the combat area covering New Guinea, Biak and the Philippine Islands where he earned 4 Bronze Stars. Thank you for your service, Albert. 

Photo Credit | Eliot J Schechter

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