After the Dale Tallon-built Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup back in June, many players went out of their way to congratulate him. Even management made the decision that his name would appear on the Cup and they presented him a championship ring. That was then, this is now. And it’s safe to say that there isn’t going to much of a love fest at the United Center tonight when Tallon’s Florida Panthers come to town. The Hawks are in the midst of the battle that is the Western Conference playoff race and an off night can land you in the ninth spot. The Blackhawks came to the Bank Atlantic Center to face the Panthers on March 8 and a bad first period had them leaving without a point. Currently, the Hawks sit in seventh place with 86 points, but only one point separates them and the 10th place Calgary Flames.
The Panthers are coming off a night of travel, following last night’s 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Cats weren’t able to muster much offense against the Blue Shirts and the late night of travel isn’t going to help matters much here. Stephen Weiss missed last night’s game, and no word if he’s going to be in the lineup tonight. Expect to see a patchwork of lines much like last night. If the Panthers have ANY shot, Tomas Vokoun will need another night like he had the first time these two teams met.
For Jack Skille, who missed the March 9 game with an injury, it’s a chance to play against his former mates. And on the other side, Michael Frolik gets a second crack at the club that traded him for Skille in February. Chicago fans have been getting a taste of what drove the Panthers crazy with Frolik. In the 18 games he’s played in the Windy City, he’s managed 2 goals, 3 assists with a -5 rating, despite getting time in the top 6 immediately after the trade. Lack of production, coupled with his lack of physicality, is probably going to see him fall out of favor real quick.
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