The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off their most complete effort as they start a two-game trip to the Sunshine State against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Blackhawks outshot Toronto 40-20 in a 3-1 victory Saturday to extend their point streak to five games as they wait for their offense to get in gear. Chicago, which is averaging only 2.3 goals since scoring six in its opener, faces an improving Florida team with two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas likely in net.Thomas turned aside 67-of-71 shots in two games since returning from a groin injury, including a 2-1 shootout victory over Minnesota on Saturday. "He's a difference-maker, and he gives our guys some confidence out there," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald. Corey Crawford also is off to a strong start in net for Chicago, allowing two or fewer goals in five of his last six outings.TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), FSN (Florida)ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (5-1-2): Chicago has averaged 34.2 shots, ranking third in the league through Sunday's games, but isn't capitalizing on that enough in the early season as it's produced 2.75 goals. Brandon Saad paces the team with six points, Patrick Kane boasts a team-high four goals and Marian Hossa has netted three. Rookie forward Brandon Pirri recorded his first two career goals and an assist over the last two games, garnering "first star" honors against Toronto.ABOUT THE PANTHERS (3-6-0): Florida stands near the bottom of the league in goals for and against but has been better the last five games, posting victories over Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Tomas Fleischmann leads the team with eight points and rookie center Aleksander Barkov continues to impress with three goals and six points. Sean Bergenheim, who missed last season with hip and sports hernia injuries, has been skating with the team and could return to the lineup soon.OVERTIME1. Florida RW Brad Boyes scored his 32nd career shootout goal Saturday, tying him for second among active skaters - one behind Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk. 2. Chicago C Joakim Nordstrom was sent to Rockford of the American Hockey League on Sunday after scoring one goal in eight games.3. The Blackhawks, who play at Tampa Bay on Thursday, have gained at least a point in six of the last seven meetings with the Panthers.PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Panthers 2
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