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Blackhawks try to stay hot in Florida
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks try to extend their point streak to six straight games on Tuesday night when they visit the Florida Panthers for the first time in almost two years.
The Blackhawks are 4-0-1 in their past five games and are still being paced by the usual suspects in Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, but saw several other players step up in Saturday's 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In his third game of the season, Brandon Pirri had a goal and an assist, while defenseman Michael Kostka netted the first goal of his NHL career.
"It was a special night to be able to get that and a little extra sweet to be able to do it against my old team," said Kostka, who had eight assists in 35 games with Toronto last season.
Bryan Bickell scored his first goal of the season for the Blackhawks. He signed a four-year, $16 million deal this past offseason after logging nine goals and 17 points in 23 playoff games last season.
Corey Crawford came up with 19 saves in the win, which came two nights after a shootout loss to St. Louis.
"We certainly did what we wanted to do tonight, much more effective," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville.
The Blackhawks will visit Florida for the first time since a 3-2 shootout win on Nov. 3, 2011 and take on a Panthers team that is looking to win back-to- back contests for the first time this season.
Florida snapped a three-game slide with a 2-1 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, just its third victory in nine games this season. Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes scored in the shootout and Tim Thomas stopped both skaters he faced after making 30 saves through overtime.
"When you win in a shootout it's a true win for your team," said Thomas. "You know, we needed a win, and we'll take it any way we can get it."
Rookie Aleksander Barkov scored his third goal of the season for the Panthers, netting his club's first power-play tally in four games. Florida is 1-for-11 on the man advantage in that span.
The Panthers have split the first two of a season-high, six-game homestand and try to avoid a fourth straight setback to the Blackhawks. Chicago is 11-2-2 with a pair of ties in the previous 17 meetings.
Crawford is 2-1-0 with a 2.07 goals against average and one shutout in his career versus the Panthers, while Thomas is 6-1-1 with a 2.33 GAA and one shutout in eight versus the 'Hawks.
10/22 11:03:21 ET