After it took just nine seconds for the Maple Leafs to get out to the opening lead on Wednesday night, it took the Blackhawks just 44 seconds to get out to their own opening lead tonight against the Senators in Ottawa. Who scored the goal you ask? Well none other than Patrick Kane himself. It was the kind of start the team was looking for, coming from the player everyone has been hoping would step up their play as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches.
Kane opened the scoring within the first minute of the game and the Blackhawks would hold that 1-0 lead into the second period. Shane Pinto would tie the game in the second period with a tip-in goal for his 13th of the season and send the teams into the third period knotted at 1-1.
In the opening five minutes of the third period, Alex DeBrincat set up Claude Giroux for his 22nd goal of the season to gave the Senators the 2-1 lead and Brady Tkachuk made it 3-1 moments later with his 23rd goal of the season. Sam Lafferty would increase his trade value and make the game interesting with a short-handed goal to make it 3-2 on his tenth goal and fourth short-handed tally of the season.
The Blackhawks wouldn’t go quietly into the night to end their Canadian road trip as Kane scored the game-tying goal with just over three minutes to play to make it a 3-3 game that would need extra hockey.
In the overtime period, the Blackhawks and Senators traded amazing scoring chances back and forth and eventually, it would be Tyler Johnson feeding Andreas Athanasiou for the 4-3 overtime winner.
With the win, the Blackhawks leap-frog the idle Columbus Blue Jackets in the “Tank Standings” with 39 points in 54 games played this season. It was fun while it lasted.
Patrick Kane Comes Alive
All we’ve heard and had to talk about over the past few days since the NHL resumed the season from the All-Star break has surrounded the decision Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have yet to make about their futures. With Toews out for the time being, Kane has been in the spotlight, shining brighter than ever on him this season for pretty much all of the wrong reasons.
Is he injured? How bad is it? Is he motivated to play? Why was he mad about the Rangers trade? All things we’ve had to constantly try to make sense of over the past two weeks.
The best thing that Kane could do to make his case that he isn’t as injured as everyone thinks he is would be to get out to a fast, effective start.
If you had told me at the beginning of the season that it would take until February 17 for Kane to reach double-digit goals, I would have assumed he hurt himself and had missed 20 or so games. But alas, he has only missed a handful of games this year.
Kane scored his 10th of the season own his opening shift of the game, giving the Blackhawks the 1-0 lead just 44 seconds into the contest.
He wasn’t done.
With just over three minutes to play, Kane scored his 11th goal of the season and second of the game to tie it at 3-3.
This is his first multi-goal game since February 25, 2022 against the New Jersey Devils. The goal also marked Kane’s 1,217th career point, surpassing Jeremy Roenick for sole possession of third-place among U.S.-born players in NHL history.
Even with the speculation of his injury, he’s still the biggest trade piece the Blackhawks have. Kane finished the night with a pair of goals, three shots on goal, TWO HITS, and 20:39 minutes of ice time.
Nice To See You Again, Alex
Tonight was the first time that Alex DeBrincat faced his former Chicago Blackhawks team after being traded last summer at the NHL Draft. Before the game, DeBrincat reminisced about his time with the Blackhawks and what it would be like tonight facing his former teammate Patrick Kane, who also spoke before the game about his former buddy DeBrincat.
Take that quote how you will.
It took until the second period, but DeBrincat made his impact on the game with a nice assist to Claude Giroux for the 2-1 go-ahead goal for the Senators in the early stages of the third period tonight.
DeBrincat moved his stat line on the year to 18 goals and 27 assists with his helper tonight. This week, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said that DeBrincat will not be traded at the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline and the team is planning on getting an extension done with him after this season. We’ll see if that happens, or if a player that has his prime ahead of him and the ability to score 40-goals a season hits the open free agent market.
Blackhawks End Canadian Road Trip On High Note
Coming into tonight, the Blackhawks had won eight-straight games against the Senators. Make it nine with the overtime winner. This was a game from both Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks as a whole that the team desperately needed. With trade rumors swirling around seemingly anyone besides Seth Jones at this point in the season, getting a win can put some fresh air into the locker room and give the players a sense of some relief to get a win under their belt after dropping poor efforts to the Canadiens and Maple Leafs in the two games prior.
There is a human element to trade season that often gets overlooked at this time of year in hockey, and in all sports really. Mark Lazarus of The Athletic recently wrote about this exact topic and I think it’s something that people in the media and fans alike have to keep at least in the back of their minds when talking about trades and transactions. These are still players with families and friends and teammates and lives that can be uprooted at any time. While some guys might be ready to walk out the door, there’s still a ton of pressure on them constantly and as we saw with Kirby Dach last season, the chatter can get to them in negative ways.
While the win tonight is two points most fans didn’t want, it likely does some good for the players in the locker room. Even if just for a few hours.