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CHICAGO (AP) — Jayce Hawryluk’s hustle and desire are paying off for the Florida Panthers.
Hawryluk scored his first two NHL goals, Mike Hoffman and Jared McCann had goals in a 31-second span in the second period and the Panthers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 Sunday night.
Denis Malgin also scored and Frank Vatrano added an empty-netter as the Panthers won road games on consecutive night and prevailed for the fourth time in five games overall. Hoffman’s goal was his 17th, tying him for the team lead.
Hawryluk, a 22-year-old center, skated in his fifth game since being recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League where led the team with 28 points on seven goals and 21 assists.
“He does have a knack for the net,” coach Bob Boughner said. “He had a great start for Springfield, earned the call-up, and now every game he’s getting better.
“It’s real contagious, the passion and the energy that he brings. Nice to see him get rewarded.”
Hawryluk needed some stitches in his chin after the game, but was in a good mood after scoring the first two goals against Chicago to get the Panthers rolling.
“It’s nice to get that first NHL goal, right?” Hawryluk said. “But I’m just trying to help the team win. I’m always hungry. I’m always looking to score, to make plays.”
Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for the last-place Blackhawks, who had their season-high, three-game winning streak snapped. Connor Murphy scored his first goal of the season and Alex DeBrincat netted his 17th, moving into a tie with Patrick Kane for the team lead.
“I think we all felt pretty good coming into the game,” said Strome, who recorded his first three-point game in the NHL. “Even after the first period, we were playing pretty good I think.
“Once they got a goal, I think we let that take the wind out of our sails and let them get momentum from that.”
James Reimer made 26 saves for Florida and Cam Ward stopped 21 shots for Chicago, as No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford missed his fourth game with a concussion.
Murphy opened the scoring at 13:32 of the first period, connecting in his ninth game after missing Chicago’s first 30 while recovering a back injury. After taking Strome’s feed from behind the net, his shot from the right circle beat Reimer on the glove side.
Hawryluk tied it just under three minutes later with his first goal and point.
After hustling past Chicago defenseman Carl Dahlstrom, Hawryluk narrowly beat Ward to a loose puck as the goalie came out. Hawryluk skated to the right and fired into an empty net.
Hawryluk put Florida ahead 2-1 at 2:35 of the second. He skated behind Chicago defensemen Duncan Keith and Erik Gustafsson, took a long pass from Mike Matheson and beat Ward on the stick side after breaking in alone.
DeBrincat scored a power-play goal off a series of bounces at 4:56 to tie it at 2. DeBrincat’s pass across the crease caromed off Strome, Matheson and the right post before bouncing back to him at the left side of the crease.
Hoffman’s power-play goal, on a rising screened shot from the point, put Florida ahead 3-2 with 3:11 left in the second. McCann buried a rebound of a long shot by MacKenzie Weegar, scoring past a diving Ward 31 seconds later to make it 4-2.
The quick goals deflated Chicago, coach Jeremy Colliton said.
“We didn’t feel like we were playing very well, but we were still in the game,” Colliton said. “Then, all of a sudden, it’s an uphill battle.”
Malgin was wide open at the right side of the crease and converted a feed from McCann to make it 5-2 just 59 seconds into the third. Strome tipped in a pinpoint backhanded feed from Kane at 9:35 of the third to cut it to 5-3.
Vatrano’s empty-netter with 1:01 sealed it.
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