SUNRISE, FLORIDA – Aaron Ekblad came back, and the Florida 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 Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday night to snap a four-game slide.
Florida had lost its last eight meetings with the Blackhawks, last beating Chicago on March 8, 2011. The Blackhawks outscored Florida 25-11 in those games.
Reilly Smith, Quinton Howden and former Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell also scored for the Panthers, who took a 3-0 lead after one period and started a big weekend in a big way.
Scott Darling stopped 28 shots for Chicago, which lost on consecutive nights in the state of Florida. The Blackhawks lost in Tampa on Thursday, after winning 12 straight to match the Panthers for the longest winning streak in the league this season. Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1
In Raleigh, North Carolina, J.T. Miller scored twice in the second period and Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves to lead New York to a victory over Carolina. Red Wings 3, Sabres 0
In Buffalo, All-Star rookie Dylan Larkin had a goal and an assist and Petr Mrazek stopped 19 shots to lead Detroit to a win against the Sabres. Islanders 5, Senators 2
In Ottawa, Travis Hamonic and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist in the third period and New York beat the Senators.
Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (SO)
In Denver, Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves and then stopped all three attempts in the shootout, and Colorado edged St. Louis. Ducks at Capitals — ppd.