THE CHICAGO WAY?: Alex Petrovic won't face suspension as Chicago comes to Sunrise without Patrick Kane ... Florida kicks off long homestand ... Sean Bergenheim happy in the Wild
Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic will not be suspended for a hit that injured Chicago's Patrick Kane on Tuesday — but he could have a target on his back come Thursday.
With the Panthers and Chicago playing a rare home-and-home series, Petrovic could find some leftover anger from the Blackhawks when they visit BB&T Center on Thursday night.
Kane, tied for the NHL lead with 64 points, is expected to be miss three months after havingg surgery on a broken collarbone on Wednesday.
Petrovic was given a two-minute penalty for cross-checking Kane midway through the first period of Chicago's eventual 3-2 shootout win at United Center.
After reviewing the play — Petrovic gave Kane a slight shove causing Kane to lose his balance and crash into the boards leading with his left shoulder — the NHL decided no further discipline was warranted.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was incensed on the bench after Kane skated off to the locker room but didn't rip into Petrovic in his postgame media session saying only "live, it looked a little dangerous.''
The Blackhawks and Panthers were both off on Wednesday.
"We're missing a valuable guy, one who is having a year that's very noticeable,'' Quenneville said of Kane, a past postseason MVP who was the top pick of the 2007 NHL draft by current Florida general manager Dale Tallon.
"We still have to stick with it, go with what you've got.''
Former Florida winger Kris Versteeg, who scored Chicago's second goal Tuesday, said Kane is "irreplaceable.''
"You're really ticked off when a player like him gets hurt,'' Versteeg said. "You never want to see someone like that hurt, someone that exciting who people pay to watch play. It's not good for the game."
Kane, 26, is the second high-profile player knocked out for some time by the Panthers this month.
On Feb. 13, Dmitry Kulikov's low body check took out Dallas' Tyler Seguin at the knees. Seguin is expected to miss at least another month with an MCL strain.
Kulikov was suspended four games for the hit, one Seguin called "dirty."
Kane was placed on the long-term injury list.
"You're talking about one of the best players in the league so there's no doubt,'' Florida coach Gerard Gallant said when asked if the Blackhawks are a different team without Kane. "It's unfortunate he got hurt.''
IN THE HUNT
The Panthers battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period as Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck scored in a span of four minutes to gain a point by forcing overtime.
Despite Florida’s strong offensive push in the final minute of overtime, the game went to a shootout where Chicago scored on its two attempts and the Panthers went scoreless against goalie Scott Darling.
The Panthers kick off a season-long seven-game homestand Thursday against the Blackhawks and do so two points back of Boston for the final playoff spot.
"We don't give up,'' goalie Roberto Luongo said. "It's exciting to be in a playoff race at this time of year but we have a lot of work to do. We know that. But we want to keep growing and getting better and have a chance to sneak in.''
-- Sean Bergenheim said he was happy to be traded by the Panthers to Minnesota on Tuesday as he joins another team in the midst of a playoff run.
Bergenheim could make his debut with the Wild Thursday in Nashville after being a healthy scratch in six straight games and nine of the previous 11 by the Panthers.
"I was very very happy. I kind of expected something would happen before the trade deadline,'' said Bergenheim, who in fact asked the Panthers for a trade earlier this month.
Thursday: Blackhawks at Panthers
When, where: 7:30 p.m.; BB&T Center, Sunrise
TV/Radio: FSFL; WQAM 560
Series: Chicago leads 18-9-3
Noteworthy: Florida has lost six straight to the Blackhawks and three straight overall after Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss in Chicago. The Panthers kick off a seven-game homestand with three games in the next four days.