Wow. I guess at this point we should expect the unexpected.
In Nashville, it was Tomas Kopecky nearly doubling his season point total with two assists. On Sunday, it was John Madden scoring two goals to propel the Hawks offense ahead of the Predators, this time in Chicago. Madden now has seven goals in 38 games, the same total he had in 76 games for New Jersey last season.
What we can expect from the Hawks is for Patrick Kane to score. He had the first and last goals of the night for the Hawks on Sunday, with the fifth and final tally coming with only 46 seconds left in the contest. He also had an assist in the game, and has now scored a goal in four consecutive games. Thanks to his red hot streak, Kane was named the number one star of the game, and the NHL’s number two star of the week on Monday morning.
It took the Hawks offense two full periods to get their act together, and they were trailing 2-1 heading to the final frame. But the action accelerated quickly in the third, starting with first goal just over six minutes into the period. Almost six minutes later, Madden found the back of the net again to give the Hawks the 3-2 lead, and Brian Campbell scored a power play goal only 81 seconds later to push the lead to 4-2 in the Hawks favor.
Then the Predators came storming back with their own rally. Dan Hamhuis and Cody Franson scored only 57 seconds apart to tie the game, with the tying goal coming with only 3:25 left in regulation. The Predators hang brought the momentum back to their side of the ice, and were fighting to keep their hopes of winning the division alive.
But Kane had other idea.
Jonathan Toews received his third assist of the game, and Duncan Keith his second, as Kane put in his team-leading 15th goal of the season to cap an exciting third period that puts the division crown in the Hawks’ hands. With the weekend sweep, in which Toews had five assists and Kane had four points (2 G, 2 A), the Hawks won the six-game season series with the second place Predators 4-2.
Antti Niemi was just good enough to get the win, as he was earlier this month against Boston. He allowed four goals on only 20 shots.