EK­BLAD RE­TURNS TO HELP PAN­THERS BLANK CHICAGO

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING -

sun­rise, fla.» Aaron Ek­blad came back, and the Pan­thers made an em­phatic re­turn to their win­ning ways.

Against the reign­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­ons, no less.

Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots for his fourth shutout of the sea­son, Ek­blad scored in his first game back af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a con­cus­sion and the Pan­thers eas­ily han­dled the Black­hawks 4-0 on Fri­day night to snap a four-game slide.

Florida had lost its last eight meet­ings with Chicago, last beat­ing the Black­hawks on March 8, 2011. Chicago outscored Florida 25-11 in those games.

Reilly Smith, Quin­ton How­den and for­mer Chicago de­fense­man Brian Camp­bell also scored for Florida, which took a 3-0 lead af­ter one pe­riod and started a big week­end in a big way.

The Pan­thers play ri­val Tampa Bay — the reign­ing East­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons — at home Satur­day.

FRI­DAY’S HIGH­LIGHTS

Travis Ha­monic and John Tavares each had a goal and an as­sist in the third pe­riod as the Is­lan­ders de­feated the Sen­a­tors 5-2. Ha­monic beat An­drew Ham­mond with a slap shot at 2:58 of the third to give New York a 3-2 lead and Tavares slipped a back­hand past Ham­mond at 7:03 for some in­sur­ance. Kyle Ok­poso scored on a bank shot off the back­side of Ottawa de­fense­man Jared Cowen to fin­ish the scor­ing. … All-star rookie Dy­lan Larkin had a goal and an as­sist and Petr Mrazek stopped 19 shots to lead the Red Wings to a 3-0 vic­tory over the Sabres. Hen­rik Zet­ter­berg and Luke Glen­den­ing also scored for the Red Wings, who snapped a two-game los­ing streak. Larkin scored the win­ner with 7:59 re­main­ing in the game, cir­cling from be­hind the net to col­lect the re­bound off a Glen­den­ing shot and bank­ing the puck off the pads of Robin Lehner. … J.T. Miller scored twice in the se­cond pe­riod and Hen­rik Lundqvist made 30 saves, lead­ing the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Hur­ri­canes. Ryan McDon­agh scored to stretch his scor­ing streak to four games, and Keith Yan­dle also had a goal for New York. Joakim Nord­strom scored for Carolina, and Ed­die Lack made 28 saves. New York has won 14 of its past 15 meet­ings with Carolina. The game was played be­fore a tiny crowd — many in Rangers jer­seys — due in part to sev­eral inches of wet snow that be­gan fall­ing in the af­ter­noon. The As­so­ci­ated Press

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