Florida Panthers

Penalties costly for Panthers in loss to Blackhawks

Florida Panthers center Connor Brickley, left, center Brandon Pirri, center, and center Vincent Trocheck react as they watch teammates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won 3-2.
Florida Panthers center Connor Brickley, left, center Brandon Pirri, center, and center Vincent Trocheck react as they watch teammates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won 3-2. AP

To beat the defending Stanley Cup champions in their barn, you better not make mistakes and it would help to have your best players on the ice.

The Panthers gifted the host Blackhawks five power play chances from the start of Thursday's second period until the opening seconds of the third.

If that wasn't tough enough, top-line center Sasha Barkov — perhaps Florida's top defensive forward — was lost midway through the second with an apparent wrist injury.

Add all that up, and it was the Blackhawks skating out of United Center with a 3-2 victory over the Panthers.

Florida hasn't won in Chicago since 2007.

"They pretty much dominated the night,'' coach Gerard Gallant said.

Said Jaromir Jagr: "When you play the champions, they get the respect. They got it."

With the score tied at 1, Jagr was called for holding — the first of five infractions in a penalty-filled second period.

Chicago cashed in on two of its power play chances with Brent Seabrook's 45-foot slapshot beating Roberto Luongo 3:51 into the second.

In the early goings of the third — with Vincent Trocheck polishing off the final seconds of his high-sticking call — Patrick Kane broke loose and backhanded a nasty shot over Luongo's shoulder to make it 3-1.

"Eight [penalties]. They moved the puck real well,'' said Gallant, whose team was flagged for eight penalties in the final 40 minutes including one final time with two-plus seconds left.

"You can't spend that much time [killing penalties] because you're trying to score. It really wears on you. There was hooking and holding and you have to call those, that's how the game is. It's not like the old days. They're going to call those penalties."

The Panthers got into the power play mix themselves in the third — and cashed in as well.

At 5:28, Marcus Kruger was slapped with a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Just six seconds later, Niklas Hjalmarsson was tagged for delay of game giving Florida a two-man advantage for a whopping 1:54.

Jagr made it 3-2 with 12:36 left when he tapped a loose puck off a Trocheck shot into the back of the net.

"We had a couple of chances," Gallant said, "but we didn't deserve to win the way we played."

Chicago struck first as Artem Anisimov carried the puck into the Florida zone along the right boards, slid around defensemen Steven Kampfer and Dmitry Kulikov before beating Luongo with a nice backhand 4:02 into the proceedings.

Florida didn't trail for long, however.

On the following shift, Trocheck got his first goal since opening night by fighting through a trio of Chicago defenders — not including goalie Corey Crawford — and getting the puck in.

"I whacked at it 10, 15 times until it went in,'' said Trocheck said. "The next shift after a goal for either side is very important. We were trying to take the momentum away from them. And then we lost it.''

▪ Barkov left the game midway through the second period after blocking a shot off what looked like his wrist.

After receiving treatment, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Barkov was seen leaving the locker room with his wrist heavily wrapped up. Gallant said his status wasn't known.

"That's a big loss. He's our best player,'' Jagr said. "He's going to be tough to replace although no one knows how long he'll be out. It'll be tougher but we'll do it no matter what."

Gallant said: "He's a real good player, although he's still a young kid, he has been our best player through the first seven games. We'll put someone else up there, like Trocheck or [Brandon] Pirri. They're good players too."

Florida could recall center Rocco Grimaldi from AHL Portland, Maine, on Friday.

The Panthers don't have any spare forwards on their active roster since sending Grimaldi to the minors to get into game shape.

Grimaldi was put on injured reserve after injuring an ankle in Florida's third preseason game — against Dallas.

▪ The Panthers flew to Texas following Thursday's game and are expected to practice at AmericanAirlines Center in Dallas Friday afternoon.

Florida plays Dallas for the second time in a week on Saturday. The Stars, who beat the Panthers 4-2 in Sunrise last weekend, are 6-1 after beating host Pittsburgh 4-1 on Thursday.

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