On Thursday night, the Blackhawks (7-2-2) will face off against the Panthers (6-4-1) in South Florida. The Hawks will be without their best defenseman, Duncan Keith, who was hit in his left hand with a stray shot during the second period of Monday's game against the Nashville Predators. Florida's Mikael Samuelsson will also miss the game with a groin injury, and Thomas Kopecky is questionable with a knee injury.
The Panthers are off to their best start since 2005-06, but fans are still a bit wearing, considering they own the longest playoff drought in NHL history. Meanwhile, the Hawks players will have a little extra incentive to play well on this two-game road trip in Florida, because this is the second-ever "Dads Trip," where many of the players' fathers will accompany the team to provide support. Thursday's game against the Panthers will be broadcast by CSN-Chicago and FS-Florida.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Blackhawks be sure to visit Second City Hockey. For more on the Florida Panthers check out Litter Box Cats, and be sure to visit SB Nation NHL for more news and notes around the league.