The Blackhawks squandered another multi-goal lead and fell to the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime at FLA Live Arena on Friday.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. For the third consecutive game, the Blackhawks scored the first two goals. And for the second straight contest, they let their 2-0 lead slip away. The Panthers scored three goals in a span of 4:13 in the third period, Cole Guttman scored the game-tying goal for the Blackhawks with 44.3 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and the Panthers ended it after Brandon Montour whacked a backhander past Petr Mrazek.
2. Mrazek was terrific all night. He turned aside the first 32 shots he faced before allowing three goals on the next five shots in the third period, although it's hard to fault him for any of them. He had 36 saves on 39 shots for a save percentage of .923 in regulation before the Panthers scored the winner in overtime. Over his last six starts, Mrazek has a .917 save percentage. Easily his best stretch of the season.
3. The Blackhawks had six power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 40 seconds in the first period, and they finished 0-for-6. It was a rough showing for them. They allowed as many high-quality chances as they generated against a Panthers penalty kill that had allowed a power-play goal in nine straight going into Friday.
4. When the pairing of Jarred Tinordi and Nikita Zaitsev was on the ice together at even strength, the Panthers led in shot attempts (31-6), shots on goal (15-3) and scoring chances (18-2), per Natural Stat Trick. They had a tough night.
5. Some memorable milestone games for a couple Blackhawks: Boris Katchouk appeared in his 100th career NHL game and Caleb Jones played in his 200th career NHL game. And, oddly enough, they both found the back of the net. Katchouk scored his third of the season, which is a new career-high.
6. Anders Bjork appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in the final minutes of the opening period and he did not return. He looked to be in some real discomfort getting to the bench. The hits keep coming for the Blackhawks.
7. This team plays hard for head coach Luke Richardson, who probably hasn't gotten enough credit this season. The Blackhawks have played in 23 one-goal games this season. They're 12-5-6 in those games.
8. Before the game, the Blackhawks signed 31-year-old goaltender Zach Andrews to an amateur tryout contract. He is the Florida Panthers' emergency goaltender and served as Mrazek's backup because Alex Stalock was out due to an illness. Feels like the Blackhawks lead the league in emergency goaltender-type situations.
9. Connor Murphy did not play for personal reasons, and he's expected to be out on Saturday against Tampa Bay too. Filip Roos was recalled from the AHL and skated on the third pairing with Ian Mitchell. Roos actually saved a potential goal in the second period and then drew a penalty later in the shift.
10. If I told you two years ago that Tyler Johnson, Seth Jones and Jarred Tinordi would be the three alternate captains for the Blackhawks on March 10, 2023, what would your reaction have been? Kind of crazy to think about.
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