Blackhawks 5, Panthers 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Boris Mironov scored a short-handed goal as the last-place Chicago Blackhawks beat Florida 5-2 Saturday night, sweeping the two-game season series and knocking the Panthers out of first place.
Anders Eriksson and Bob Probert ended long scoring droughts, and Jocelyn Thibault had 22 saves to give Chicago its first win in the third game of a five-game road trip. The Panthers, 1-5-1 in their past seven home games, fell two points behind Washington into second place in the Southeast Division.
Josef Marha finished off a 2-on-1 break by slipping the puck past Mike Vernon 12:23 in to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Blair Atcheynum set Marha up for his seventh goal.
Mironov drilled home a long slap shot to make it 3-1. Alexei Zhamnov received his 300th career assist on Chicago’s ninth short-handed goal of the season.
Probert scored his second goal _ first in 32 games _ just 55 seconds in to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
Eriksson snapped a 52-game streak with a slap shot just inside the blue line that gave Chicago a 4-1 advantage at 11:37 of the second. It was also Eriksson’s second goal.
Ray Whitney split two defensemen before nudging the puck through Thibault’s pads for his 25th goal, cutting Chicago’s lead to 4-2 with 58 seconds left in the second. Pavel Bure got an assist as did rookie Brad Ference, who notched his first NHL point in his second game.
Michael Nylander’s 19th goal over a prone Vernon sealed the victory with 4:04 remaining. Chicago outshot Florida 15-3 in the third.
The Panthers, coming off a rugged 4-3 victory in Tampa Bay Saturday, fell to 11-6-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.
Michal Grosek, acquired Friday from Buffalo, was unable to make his Blackhawks’ debut because his equipment got lost en route to Miami.