February 26, 2015

The Chicago Blackhawks couldn't surpass the Florida Panthers for the NHL's longest win streak this season but have been victorious in recent matchups between the teams.

The Blackhawks will try to bounce back from the end to their franchise-best run Friday night by claiming a ninth consecutive win over the Panthers, who have cooled off since their lengthy streak.

Chicago (32-14-4) generated a season-low 18 shots - including a combined nine in the first two periods - as their 12-game win streak ended Thursday in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning had 33 shots and totaled 23 in the first two periods in a 2-1 victory. Artem Anisimov scored the Blackhawks' lone goal in the opening minute.

"Tonight, they were definitely the better team," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We didn't generate much. We didn't get much traffic or pucks to the net. We didn't get the offensive zone time we would have liked.

"I really like what we did (during the 12-game win streak) but we've got to keep pushing."

Chicago will try to shake off that defeat by matching its longest active win streak versus one opponent. The Blackhawks have won nine in a row over Buffalo.

They beat Florida 3-2 in Chicago on Oct. 22, with Patrick Kane scoring a key power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period and assisting on the first two scores.

The league leader with 72 points, Kane has six goals and 11 assists in his last 10 games versus the Panthers (26-15-5).

Seeking a career-high 31st goal, Kane faces a Florida team that's been outscored 16-5 over an 0-3-1 stretch since its franchise-best 12-game winning streak concluded. Monday's 4-2 loss to Edmonton ended a team-record seven-game home win streak.

The Panthers trailed 3-0 after two periods before pulling within one less than six minutes into the third. The Oilers sealed the win by scoring with 1:28 remaining.

"The work ethic is lacking for sure, whether they're tired or whatever it is," coach Gerard Gallant said. "I'm not happy with the way we played the last number of games. Hopefully we get back at it and play our game again."

The Blackhawks, who also had a six-game road win streak snapped Thursday, have prevailed in each of their last three visits to Florida with Corey Crawford posting a 3-0 victory in the latest Feb. 26.

In the second of back-to-back games, Chicago might turn to Scott Darling, who has a 1.64 goals-against average in winning his last three starts. He earned a shootout win in his only matchup against Florida on Feb. 24, making 34 saves.

The Blackhawks could help whoever is in net by extending the Panthers' power-play woes. Florida is 0 for 22 with a man advantage in the past eight games but has gone 28 for 30 on the penalty kill in its last nine.

The Panthers are expected to get one of their top defensemen, Aaron Ekblad, back after a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, could have forward Jiri Sekac on the ice after he was acquired from Anaheim on Thursday for Ryan Garbutt.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews has five goals and five assists in his team's win streak against Florida.

The Panthers won't have their captain for a few games. Florida put defenseman Willie Mitchell on injured reserve Friday to give him an extended rest to recover from some nagging injuries.

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