<
>

Kane's efforts get Hawks much-needed win

It’s obvious whatever happens to Patrick Kane off the ice has little effect on him once the game begins.

Kane helped set up the Chicago Blackhawks’ first goal on Sunday, despite not getting a point on it, and then won the game in dramatic fashion with a highlight-reel move in the shootout.

“Sometimes you miss a few, you want to change it up a bit,” Kane said after the 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I just tried to come down the middle and pull him over to one side and bring it back. I’m happy it worked obviously.”

The largest crowd of the season, 22,195, was thrilled as well. ‘Must-win’ is a phrase being used often regarding these Hawks -- and this time they came through, thanks, in part, to Kane.

“[Assistant Mike Kitchen] and I talked about going left, right, left,” interim coach Mike Haviland said of his decision to bat Kane third in the shootout. “Nice to see the move he made with the third shot there.”

The Hawks’ first goal might have been as pretty as Kane’s shootout move. Four players touched the puck, starting with the Hawks’ right winger and ending with Patrick Sharp scoring his 31st of the season.

Kane stopped with the puck inside the Penguins blue line and set up shop as he often does, surveying the offensive zone. He found Niklas Hjalmarsson at the other point, who put it down to Jonathan Toews on the wing, who found Sharp for the score.

“I know half the time I may as well just go to the net because [Kane’s] just looking to pass it behind me or saucer it over my stick to someone else,” Toews joked. “I’m usually the decoy in those situations.”

Kane, coming off a two-day illness which led to tabloid-type questions about whether he was really sick, played some of his best hockey this weekend. He had three points on Friday before Sunday’s heroics.

“All of us think we can be better every game, so that’s a good thing too,” Kane said.

The Hawks could use more of this Kane, and if he’s even better, the chances of a postseason berth might not be as remote as they looked two nights earlier. Not if No. 88 has anything to say about it.

“We need to keep this going,” he said. “It’s that time of year.”