Star forward Patrick Kane became the 90th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points, as the Blackhawks defeated Winnipeg 5-2 for their fifth consecutive win. The Buffalo native is only the seventh active NHL player to reach 1,000, joining Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Eric Staal.
The milestone is one of many for the future hall-of-famer, who has won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year in 2008; the Art Ross Trophy for most points in 2016; the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player and the Hart Memorial Trophy for MVP in the regular season in 2016; the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP in the playoffs in 2013; and three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
In addition, Kane is the youngest American-born player (out of 10 in NHL history) — as well as the only American-born Blackhawk — to ever reach 1,000 points. He joins legends Stan Mikita (1,467), Bobby Hull (1,153) and Denis Savard (1,096) as just the fourth Blackhawk in the history of the original-six franchise to reach 1,000.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career,” Kane said post-game. “Whether it’s been getting drafted by Chicago or making some decisions when I was younger to move away at 14 years old as a freshman in high school, forgo college and play in London for a year — Chicago winning the lottery, getting drafted by Chicago, then having a lot of good pieces in place here with some great players where we could turn the corner pretty fast and become a good team. There were a lot of things that were lined up. When you reach a milestone like this you think of all those players you played with that had a big part of it. It’s been a fun ride.”
Riding a four-game winning streak — including a 3-0 sweep of a successful Canadian road trip — the Blackhawks returned the United Center with Kane’s historic feat hanging in the balance.
Defenseman Eric Gustafsson would ignite the Hawks offensively, assisting on Alex Nylander’s goal before rocketing a shot top-corner on Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck for a two-goal lead in the first period.
If gifs had sound, this one would be: 𝑷𝑰𝑵𝑮
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Mark Scheifele would answer for Winnipeg late in the second period by backhanding a loose puck past Robin Lehner to cut the Hawks lead in half. Captain Jonathan Toews had lost Scheifele in coverage, which allowed the Jets center to easily score on the rebound.
David Kampf would restore the Hawks’ two-goal lead midway through the third period after a nice rush by rookie Kirby Dach, who used his size to direct the puck on net, creating an easy rebound-goal for Kampf.
With a little under six minutes to go in the game, Patrick Kane would make history by assisting on longtime teammate Brandon Saad’s goal to make it 4-1. Curling around the Winnipeg goal, Kane began the tic-tac-toe sequence by finding Ryan Carpenter in front of the net, who then fed Saad for the open-net tally. Once the goal was scored, the entire Blackhawks bench cleared, with every player pouring onto the ice to celebrate the milestone.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 20, 2020
“What a moment, obviously, with everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that moment with me,” Kane said. “You see some faces in that pile that have been a big part of a lot of those points, whether it’s been [Jonathan Toews] or [Duncan Keith] or [Alex] DeBrincat recently, [Saad] to finish it off I think was pretty cool. As far as everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that with me is something I’ll never forget.”
“It was unbelievable,” Saad said. “I was kind of surprised at the time. There was five of us in the huddle, and then you kind of get pushed from behind and then we’re all in the corner. The whole bench cleared. It’s awesome, though. What a guy, what a player. I know we’re all happy to have him, so it’s big. Special moment for him.”
With their goalie pulled, Patrick Laine would score for Winnipeg, before Hawks rookie Dominik Kubalik cemented the victory with an empty-net goal. Blackhawk forward Drake Caggiula committed four penalties in the game, including an unsportsmanlike penalty which gave Winnipeg a four-minute power play in the second period, but the Hawks’ penalty kill continued to shine, going 5-for-5 in the game. In addition, Robin Lehner made 36 saves to keep Winnipeg at bay.
“It was obviously a very big moment, special moment for him,” added Lehner. “It was a special moment for all of us to share with him. He’s obviously a hell of a hockey player, but he’s an even better person. Everyone was truly and genuinely happy for him, so it was cool to be a part of.”
With their fifth win in a row and a 7-3-0 record their last ten games, the Blackhawks suddenly find themselves right back in the playoff mix. The Hawks are just three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes for a Wild Card spot; and only four points behind the Dallas Stars for the third seed in the Central Division.
“Big win for us, obviously,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said.”For (Kane) to get his 1,000th point is a huge thing for our team and obviously for him. I think everyone was pretty honored to be a part of it. It was fun to watch and to get it on a night when we get two big points against a divisional opponent in regulation, it feels good for everyone.”
The only downside of Kane’s momentous night was that his parents could not make the game, as their flight was canceled due to inclement weather in Buffalo.
“It’s tough not having them here,” Kane said. “They’ve been a big part of my career. I’m sure I’ll talk to them after this and hopefully there will be some better moments in the future that they’ll be here for.”
The Blackhawks will look to extend their winning streak against the Florida Panthers this Tuesday, in what will be their final game before the All-Star break. The game will be ex-Blackhawk coach Joel Quenneville’s first return to the United Center since being fired by the organization early last season. In addition to Kane, Jonathan Toews will enter Tuesday’s game with a chance to complete a milestone of his own, as the captain currently has 799 career points.