CHICAGO -- The last time the Panthers came to Chicago the game was delayed 30 minutes because the team bus was held up in a blizzard.
Well, with another snowstorm raging outside the Madhouse on Madison, the Panthers were buried under an avalanche of power-play goals as the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks piled it on in a 6-2 victory Sunday night to snap Florida's modest two-game winning streak.
In a battle of special teams, it was no contest as to which team was more special. The NHL-leading Blackhawks added to their top-ranked offense with three (of 3) power-play goals, while the Panthers' 28th-ranked extra-man units were a dismal 0-for-5.
Just as the Panthers took advantage of the Red Wings' tired legs in the second game of a back-to-back Saturday, the rested, ticked-off Blackhawks -- who were riding a rare three-game winless streak -- flew out of the gates with two PPGs in the first 9:11.
"I don't think we were very good to start the game," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. "Obviously, to come back on this team in this building, giving them that lead in the first period is going to be very difficult.
"Back to back's not an excuses. Detroit was in the same situation last night. You have to be mentally tougher and smarter in that situation, but you've got to have some energy to make sure you're doing the right things."
Still, despite trailing 3-0 after Marian Hossa caught rarely used goalie Scott Clemmensen on a flicker just 37 seconds into the second period, the resilient Panthers clawed to within one. Clemmensen, who gave up six goals on 32 shots, made his first start under Horachek and first since Nov. 7, a 4-1 loss to Boston, to end Tim Thomas' string of 14 consecutive starts.
"We got to give him a break somewhere along the way," Horachek said. "Nobody's going to be able to play 70 games."
Former Blackhawks defenseman Dylan Olsen continued to show that the Panthers may not have gotten bamboozled in the recent Kris Versteeg trade when his wicked wrist shot from the faceoff circle became his second NHL goal in the last three games at 4:05.
"It was weird. I have a lot of good friends there on and off the ice," said Versteeg, who had an assist. "It was tough for me to leave there. Obviously, I came back to a great situation. In the end, it's a business."
Then five minutes later Panthers center Marcel Goc -- who 6:15 into the first period knocked goalie Corey Crawford from the game when his slot-shot caught him flush on the right leg -- rifled another wrister from between the dots that beat backup rookie goalie Antti Raanta up high.
Raanta, 24, made 29 saves and is now 3-0-1 in four NHL appearances.
However, with 2:44 left in the second, defenseman Brent Seabrook's long slapper was momentarily stopped by Clemmensen, but the loose puck was swatted in by Michal Handzus for a two-goal cushion heading into the third.
"We can't give up that fourth goal," said former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell. "It's happened all season. We put a lot of energy in getting back. Can't give up early goals in the second and go down 3-0."
The Blackhawks have defeated the Panthers five straight, including the aforementioned snowy night of Jan. 20, 2012.
With Tomas Kopecky off for interference, Clemmensen surrendered a goal on the first shot he faced when Patrick Sharp's riser from the center-ice blue line tickled the cords at 1:10.
And Saad put the capper on the rout with a slick breakaway goal with 56 ticks left.
The Panthers scratched defenseman Mike Mottau, forward Scott Gomez, and surprisingly Brad Boyes, who leads the team with eight goals. Boyes was scratched on Nov. 7 in coach Kevin Dineen's last game.
"I didn't think he competed hard enough away from the puck (against Detroit), when he didn't have the puck on his stick to get the puck back," Horachek said. "There has to be accountability everywhere."
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