CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook each had a goal and two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night in their first game since top defenseman Duncan Keith had right knee surgery.
Artem Anisimov also scored for the Stanley Cup champions, and Corey Crawford made 16 saves while improving to 5-1 in seven career starts against Florida.
Keith had a meniscal tear repaired on Tuesday, sidelining the two-time Norris Trophy winner for four to six weeks. It could be a huge blow for the Blackhawks, who were already thin on defense and play in one of the NHL’s best divisions, but they responded with a smart, measured performance on the first night of Keith’s extended absence.
Jaromir Jagr and Vincent Trocheck scored for Florida, which has dropped three in a row. Roberto Luongo made 24 saves.
Jagr’s team-best fifth goal at 7:24 of the third was the 206th power-play score of his career, breaking a tie with Joe Sakic for No. 13 on the NHL list. It also moved him into a tie with Teemu Selanne for third on the career list with 588 power-play points.
“He’s been great,” Florida coach Gerard Gallant said before the game. “He just keeps coming to the rink at night and gets ready for the games and prepares himself the same way every day and you know he plays well. He’s playing really good hockey for us.”
With Marcus Kruger and Niklas Hjalmarsson in the box for Chicago, the 43-year-old Jagr poked it in from the right side to trim Chicago’s lead to 3-2. But the Blackhawks kept the action away from Crawford for most of the final part of the game.
Florida and Chicago were tied at 1 after one, but the Panthers committed five penalties in the second, and the Blackhawks took advantage on two of the power-play opportunities.
After Steven Kampfer was sent off for hooking, Seabrook sent a big drive past Luongo at 3:51 for his second of the season. Crawford then made a nice stop on Jagr on the other side to preserve the Blackhawks’ 2-1 lead.
Trocheck was whistled for high sticking with 1:18 left in the second, and Kane drove to the net for a nifty backhand score just 17 seconds into the third. Kane leads the team with five goals and 10 points.
The Panthers finished with eight penalties.
NOTES: Panthers C Aleksander Barkov left in the second period with an upper-body injury. … Blackhawks F Marian Hossa served as an alternate captain with Keith out. … Kampfer made his first appearance of the season, and D Alex Petrovic was a healthy scratch. D Dylan Olsen and LW Shawn Thornton also were inactive. … Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch. He played in Chicago’s first six games, but is still looking for his first point of the season.
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