Sharp-less Blackhawks set to host Panthers
Wednesday, 03.23.2011 / 12:47 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorPANTHERS (29-34-10) at BLACKHAWKS (39-25-8)
: Fox Sports-Florida, CSN-CH.
: Florida 3-4-3; Chicago 6-2-2.
: This is the second and final meeting between the teams. Florida earned a 3-2 win against Chicago on March 8 at the BankAtlantic Center behind a 37-save performance by Tomas Vokoun
: Every one of their 10 remaining games are crucial to the Blackhawks, who will enter Wednesday's action just one point up on a pair of teams (Dallas, Calgary) who are currently not in playoff position. Facing an Eastern Conference team that has next-to-no chance of reaching the postseason, Chicago will be in must-win mode when the puck drops at the United Center.
: Playing without Stephen Weiss
due to a leg injury, Florida was unable to muster much offense on Tuesday night in a 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers fired 22 shots on goal against Henrik Lundqvist, but were unable to push any pucks past the world-class goaltender.
"We're missing our leading scorer from what's left out of this team," Vokoun said. "If you don't score, you can't win. We battled hard, but this is where we are. We didn't even generate enough to get us some power plays. It's disappointing."
: Chicago received a bit of good news as it learned the knee injury Patrick Sharp suffered on Sunday against Phoenix won't keep the top-line winger out long-term. The Blackhawks' final game of the regular season isn't until April 10 against Detroit. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is hopeful Sharp will return before then.
"I'm sure Sharpie's frustrated and he's going to hurry back as quick as he can," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Sunday night. "We want him to make a full recovery and for the time being we'll have to step it up and find a way."
: Toews has seven points in his last five games, while winger Marian Hossa has four points in his last four contests.
: Weiss (leg) is questionable for Florida, while Scott Timmins
(concussion), Rostislav Olesz
(knee) and Byron Bitz
(sports hernia) are out. … Besides Sharp, the Blackhawks are also missing Dave Bolland (concussion) and Jordan Hendry (ACL). There's a good chance Brian Campbell will return to the lineup for the first time since injuring his left foot on March 13.
: On Sunday, Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli scored his first goal in nine games since being acquired by the club from Ottawa on Feb. 28.
: "You have to find a way to score goals. We just didn't do that." -- Panthers coach Peter DeBoer after Tuesday's 1-0 loss to the Rangers