Panthers' Quenneville a winner in Chicago return
Joel Quenneville is used to winning games at United Center. When you coach the Chicago Blackhawks for 11 seasons, it comes with the territory.
Tuesday night was more of the same for him … just on the opposing bench.
Frank Vatrano had three goals, Mike Hoffman had two assists and Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves as the Florida Panthers outlasted the Blackhawks 4-3 in Quenneville’s return to Chicago, the city where he won three Stanley Cup titles.
The Blackhawks stopped the game at the 13:43 mark of the first period to air a lengthy video tribute for a coach who went 452-249-96 with Chicago before being dismissed last season. There was a standing ovation from the fans in the stands as well as the players on the bench, who tapped their sticks to honor the coach. The chant throughout the arena during the video was a simple and succinct “Q!”
Quenneville smiled while he watched the video on the scoreboard, then waved and mouthed, “Thank you,” while the crowd cheered.
“Very fortunate to have that type of career time here in Chicago and shared by a lot of people and feeling that today,” Quenneville said before the victory.
Quenneville, 61, signed a five-year deal with the Panthers on April 8, and in his first season, he has Florida primed for the Eastern Conference postseason. With the victory in Chicago, his Panthers will take a season-high six-game winning streak into the All-Star break. If the season ended Tuesday, Florida, with 61 points, would be the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.
Evgenii Dadonov scored his 22nd goal of the season for the Panthers, off feeds from Aleksander Barkov and Michael Matheson, to open the scoring in the second period. Dadonov is one of six Panthers with at least 16 goals this season.
Patrick Kane, Drake Caggiula and Kirby Dach scored for the Blackhawks in the loss, which ended Chicago’s season-high five-game winning streak. Kane’s goal, his 25th, came a game after he recorded his 1,000th career point on an assist.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.