DENVER, Colo. – Patrick Kane couldn’t believe that not one of his four shots ended up in the back of the net at the Pepsi Center. Ask Marian Hossa how that feels -- he had nine attempts go for nothing Wednesday night.
But Kane still found a way to take over the game in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The 26-year-old winger set up his offense with chances all night and poured on three assists, including a pretty fantastic one to Bryan Bickell for the game-winner late in the third period.
“It would be nice to see some pucks go in the net,” Kane said. “But the power play has been good, and for the most part, it seems like we’re scoring in a good amount of games here.”
Kane just about made the Avalanche's defense tumble over itself when he went right and juked left -- something equivalent to a crossover move that breaks a defender’s ankles in basketball -- and fed it to Bickell, who put the Blackhawks up for good with 5:17 remaining.
Bickell said he was surprised to see the puck skid -- very slowly -- between his feet.
“I threw a half-decent pass to Kane, and I don’t know how he was handling when [the puck] was bouncing, but he made a play and got the puck to the net,” Bickell said. “I was lucky to stop and bury it home.”
The Hawks right wing passed captain Jonathan Toews for team points leader, with 21 (eight goals and 13 assists ) on the season. Yet his impressive numbers have been more of a recent affair, as seven of those points have come in the first four games of this road trip and 11 have been in the past six games.
Makes you wonder: Is he streaky, or has something clicked? Kane, for the record, thinks it has little to do with either.
“Oh, sometimes the puck goes in, and sometimes you find some different ways to play the game, and sometimes you are playing the game with some players that are feeling it, too,” Kane said.
Earlier, he also had a hand in power-play goals by Toews and Andrew Shaw in the second period, when the Hawks finally found a way to beat the wall that was 22-year-old goalie Calvin Pickard. First, Toews scored on the 25th shot of the game for Chicago, and then Kane set up Shaw less than three minutes later.
Overall, Kane said he felt good, especially with his back-and-forth chances with Toews. Truth be told, if not for hand-over-your-mouth saves by Pickard, the duo would have added even more to their stats on Wednesday.
“For us, that’s the name of the game -- finding ways to get some space out there and get those chances,” Kane said. “Obviously, we want to capitalize more on our opportunities, though.”
The Hawks had 45 shots on net and have now out-shot Colorado 244-to-146 in the teams’ past six meetings. For a while, it looked like the Hawks would again have more shots and better chances and still lose to the Avs for the fifth time in six meetings.
But Kane helped keep the pressure on Colorado’s net, and the Hawks improved to 3-1-0 on their six-game trip.
"It’s a good start to the second half of the road trip,” said Kane, whose team ends the trip with the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks and defending champion Los Angeles Kings over the weekend. “It’s a lot better being 3-1 through the first four games than 2-2."
Seriously, though, poor Hossa.