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Panthers Vs. Blackhawks Preview: Chicago Looks To Continue Success Without Patrick Sharp

The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping to finish off a three-game homestand with three wins by defeating the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 18: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks passes the puck as Drew Stafford #21 of the Buffalo Sabres closes in at the United Center on January 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 18: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks passes the puck as Drew Stafford #21 of the Buffalo Sabres closes in at the United Center on January 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping to finish off a three-game homestand with three wins by defeating the Florida Panthers on Friday night. Chicago's success since losing star center Patrick Sharp to injury on Jan. 8 has been a pleasant surprise.

Florida began the season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but it has really struggled of late. Since beginning the season 18-9-6, the Panthers have gone 3-5-4 over their past 12 games. Getting wins has been particularly difficult on the road for Carolina, which hasn't won a game away from home since beating the Boston Bruins 2-0 in Boston on Dec. 8.

Chicago has played extremely well at home this season, winning its past four games there. Only the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings have been better on their home ice this season among Western Conference teams.

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 Panthers hockey news and information, be sure to read Litter Box Cats.