Patrick Kane scores 2 goals as Blackhawks win 5th straight

Patrick Kane scores 2 goals as Blackhawks win 5th straight

When the Blackhawks are playing bad, the gripes are many — they are too slow, they need help on the blue line, they’re relying too much on Corey Crawford.

But all that noise quiets when the Hawks’ big-name, big-money players play up to their reputations.

On Sunday, it was Patrick Kane’s turn to take center ice, as the winger scored a pair of goals in a 4-1 victory over the Wild. The Hawks won their fifth consecutive game as Kane scored his 298th and 299th goals, moving him past Dennis Hull into fifth place on the franchise’s all-time goals list. Meanwhile, Crawford had another strong night in net with 27 saves as the Hawks outshot the Wild 46-28 in their final home game of the calendar year.

“More than anything you just want to improve on your game and your craft every day and reach your highest potential and see where that can help take this team,” Kane said. “It’s always a work in progress.”

The same can be said for the Hawks this season, but they picked a good time to find their stride. It’s no coincidence the Hawks are playing better as Kane is playing better. He has seven points in his last four games.

“He’s getting hot and he’s getting the puck a lot ...” Quenneville said. “He has the puck more and when he does, good things happen.”

His teammates knew to look for him Sunday. In the first period, Nick Schmaltz found Kane with a perfect cross-ice pass in transition. Kane converted his one-time attempt 10 minutes, 56 seconds into the period for a 1-0 lead.

Then it was Jordan Oesterle who made a pretty stretch pass to Kane, who had snuck behind the defense on a change, in the second period. Kane converted the breakaway on Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (42 saves), who was filling in for the injured Devan Dubnyk.

The second goal, his 14th of the season, was No. 299 and moved him past Hull. Kane recently passed Doug Wilson for fifth on the Hawks’ all-time points list.

“You’re going to pass some people when you’re playing a lot of games and playing a lot of seasons,” Kane said. “I’ve been very fortunate to play with a lot of great players, some great coaches that have been here, and great organization. It’s definitely humbling.”

Added winger Ryan Hartman, who also scored: “Even with 10 seconds left I was almost 100 percent sure he was going to get a third one out there. On breakaways he’s almost automatic. You see him get that puck and he’s so quick with his hands. ... He’s rolling.”

And for the first time all season, so are the Hawks.

After the Blackhawks defeated the Panthers on Tuesday for their third consecutive win, Quenneville grumbled that the Hawks still needed to play better.

They answered his plea. They followed an impressive effort Thursday against the Jets with a near-complete effort Sunday.

“In this league you know you’re going to go through the ups and downs throughout a season,” Kane said. “The biggest thing is to try to stay even-keeled in those moments and be ready for anything.”

Kane was Sunday.

Chris Hine’s three stars

1. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks:Scored a pair of goals, now has 299 for his career.

2. Corey Crawford, Blackhawks: Goaltender was stellar with 27 saves.

3. Ryan Hartman, Blackhawks: Made a strong individual play to score a goal.

Up next: At Stars, 7:30 p.m. Thursday; NBCSCH.

[email protected]

Twitter @ChristopherHine

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Source : http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/ct-spt-blackhawks-wild-20171217-story.html

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