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Blackhawks host Panthers, try to end rare three-game slide

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they host the Florida Panthers in Sunday's battle at United Center.

The Blackhawks have lost three straight, going 0-2-1 during a slide that comes directly on the heels of a season-best six-game winning streak.

The defending Stanley Cup champions never lost three in a row during last year's lockout-shortened regular season, but Chicago did drop three straight to Detroit during the 2013 postseason. The Blackhawks lost Games 2, 3 and 4 in the second round against the Red Wings last spring, but took the final three tilts to win the series in seven.

Chicago, of course, went on to beat the Los Angeles Kings in five games to take the Western Conference title and then defeated Boston in six to claim the franchise's second Cup in four years.

The Blackhawks last lost three straight in the regular season from Feb. 23-26, 2012. Chicago's hasn't dropped four in a row since a nine-game slide from Jan. 21-Feb. 14 of the 2011-12 campaign.

The first two losses of Chicago's current slide came via 4-3 regulation setbacks against Dallas and Minnesota on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The Blackhawks then dropped a shootout decision to Anaheim on Friday in the first tilt of a brief two-game homestand in the Windy City.

Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in the shootout to lead the Ducks to a 3-2 decision at the United Center on Friday. In the second round, Palmieri faked to the backhand and lifted it over Antti Raanta. Patrick Kane then had his backhand stopped by Jonas Hiller to end the game and give Anaheim its fifth straight win over the Blackhawks.

"We were finding ways to win close games, but the last few those bounces haven't been going our way," said Kane. "We won't overreact, though, and just work hard to get back to some wins."

Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist and Ben Smith also scored for the Blackhawks, who overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to force overtime on Friday. Raanta made 24 saves in the loss, which dropped Chicago to 9-2-4 as the host this season.

Corey Crawford expects to get the start in net tonight for Chicago and is 3-1-0 with a 2.00 goals against average in four career games against the Panthers.

Chicago has won four straight in the series with the Panthers and recorded a 3-2 shootout win in Florida on Oct. 22. Versteeg was still a member of the Panthers in that meeting earlier this season before being dealt to the Blackhawks in a trade on Nov. 14.

Versteeg is in his second stint with Chicago after helping the Blackhawks win a Cup in 2010. The 27-year-old winger has two goals and five assists in 12 games since last month's trade and has recorded 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 30 total games with the Panthers and 'Hawks this season.

Florida has won two straight and can record its first three-game winning streak of the season with another victory on Sunday. The Panthers, however, have lost two straight in Chicago and are just 4-9-2 on the road this season.

Still, the Panthers are coming off a win Saturday in Detroit, as Jonathan Huberdeau netted the game-winner 3:29 into the third period to lift Florida to a 2-1 decision at Joe Louis Arena.

Jimmy Hayes also lit the lamp and Shawn Matthias tallied a pair of assists for the Panthers. Tim Thomas turned aside 22 shots to backstop the victory.

"We're doing the simple things and keeping our energy level high," Hayes said of the team notching back-to-back wins.

After completing a short two-game road trip on Sunday, Florida will return home for a two-game stint at BB&T Center. The brief home stretch is set to begin Tuesday against Washington.

12/08 11:18:57 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 17Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia1Final | Box
NY Rangers «4Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. New York leads series, 1-0.
Chicago3OT2 8:50 | Box
St. Louis3@theRink | TV: NBCSN, CSN-CHI, FSN-MW
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Minnesota43rd Prd 7:36 | Box
Colorado3@theRink | TV: CNBC, TSN, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Los Angeles02nd Prd 8:00 | Box
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Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 3
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
PHI 1
ATL 0
Final
DET 7
CLE 5
Final
MIN 7
TOR 0
Final
TEX 8
SEA 6
Final
SFG 1
LOS 2
Final
SDP 1
COL 3
Final
PIT 11
MIL 2
Final
WAS 0
STL 8
Final
TAM 2
NYY 10
Final
MIN 9
TOR 5
Final
CWS 1
BOS 3
Final
HOU 1
KAN 5
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
TOR
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
Final
NYR 4
PHI 1
2nd OT
STL 3
CHI 3
 
3rd
COL 3
MIN 4
 
2nd
SJS 3
LOS 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
DET
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
DUR 3
NOR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR