On the day his grandfather passed away, Patrick Kane scored twice and added an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to an emphatic victory in Los Angeles.
After struggling to score in January – Chicago ranked 15th in the NHL (2.86 goals per game) for the month – the Blackhawks have scored 15 goals in the first four games of their current road trip (2-0-2).
Kane opened the scoring only 62 seconds into the contest, scoring on the Hawks’ first power play. Seven minutes later, Kane deferred to struggling Bryan Bickell on a 3-on-1 rush and the Hawks were up 2-0 in the middle of the first period.
Unfortunately the Hawks needed to kill a double-minor on Patrick Sharp that was quickly followed by a roughing minor on Andrew Shaw. Drew Doughty scored on the third power play of the first period for the Kings to get LA back to within one.
Doughty’s goal was the first power play goal allowed by Chicago in their last nine games. The Hawks successfully killed four other Kings’ power plays on the night.
LA came out and dominated the second period. They out-shot the Blackhawks 15-7 and Anze Kopitar tied the game at two at 6:30 into the frame. But Marcus Kruger, who got abused all night (again), scraped himself up off the ice just in time to redirect a Nick Leddy shot past Jonathan Quick to give the lead back to the Hawks.
As much as the Kings owned the second period, the Hawks claimed the action for much of the third. Leddy scored his sixth goal of the season, the eventual game-winner, and Kane scored his second of the night later to extend the Hawks’ lead to 5-2. Tyler Toffoli scored 33 seconds after Kane, but the Kings weren’t able to get more than three past Corey Crawford.
Crawford outplayed Quick, the likely starter for the United States when the Olympics start next week. Chicago’s netminders stopped 31 of 34 to earn the victory, while his teammates were able to get five pucks past Quick in 30 shots.
Jonathan Toews had two assists in the game, but won only five of 24 faceoffs in the game. He has struggled at the dot since crashing into the net in San Jose earlier on the road trip. Sharp also had two assists in the game.
In spite of his early goal, Bickell was still limited to a team-low 11 shifts and 8:10 in the game. The fact that the Hawks were short-handed five times played a role in his ice time, but considering Brandon Bollig’s ice time (18 shifts, 10:13), it’s clear that even a first period score hasn’t taken Bickell completely out of the doghouse.
Bollig led the Hawks with three hits. Kruger, Johnny Oduya and Andrew Shaw led the Hawks with two blocked shots each, and Kane led the team with six shots on net.
Kris Versteeg has an assist in four straight games, and Sharp has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games. Marian Hossa now has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games as well.
Monday night’s game was the 6,000th for the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. Game number 6,001 is in Anaheim on Wednesday night.