NEWARK, N.J. — Patrick Kane’s 40-foot wrist shot that beat New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider gave the Blackhawks hope and Kane another milestone Saturday night — his 300th career goal.
And, almost lost in the -celebration, rookie Alex DeBrincat retrieved the puck for Kane’s trophy case. Not a minor thing — Kane’s collection of historic goals famously seems destined to be forever incomplete.
“Of all people, DeBrincat picked it up for me,” Kane said. “Good awareness of him like this.”
Unfortunately, neither Kane’s goal nor DeBrincat’s presence of mind could prevent the Hawks from another disappointing loss. Another bad first period doomed the Hawks to a 4-1 loss to the Devils at Prudential Center, their second consecutive poor performance, after a 4-0 loss to the Stars on Thursday in Dallas.
With their superior speed, the Devils (21-9-5) took advantage of Hawks miscues to score three goals on seven shots in the first period, leading coach Joel Quenneville to pull Corey Crawford — a “change-it-up” move, Quenneville said.
The Hawks responded by dominating the second period, outshooting the Devils 22-7. But despite several prime scoring chances, they didn’t break the shutout until Kane’s goal at 17:18 of the second period.
Kane’s monumental goal was assisted by defensemen Jan Rutta and Gustav Forsling. The 29-year-old Kane became the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 300-goal mark — behind Bobby Hull (604), Stan Mikita (541), Steve Larmer (406) and Denis Savard (377). Kane accomplished the feat in his 775th game in his 10th NHL season.
“It’s a cool number to get to. Would’ve been nice to get it in a win, obviously,” Kane said. “But it was nice to get it out of the way. It looked like that could have been a big goal for us. We had things going on there in the second where we had chances. When you get that one, you’re down two, maybe the comeback is on. It’s unfortunate it didn’t happen that way.
“But got to give credit to [the Devils]. They’re a good team. They came out buzzing, and it’s tough to come back on anyone when it’s 3-0. Not the finish we wanted going into the [four-day Christmas] break.”
The Hawks had six giveaways in the period — one each by six players — that pretty much illustrates how this one went. Richard Panik’s turnover led to Brian Boyle’s goal that gave the Devils a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Toews’ slashing penalty led to Kyle Palmieri’s goal — just seven seconds into the Devils’ power play — that made it 2-0. And Pavel -Zacha’s easy goal in the slot gave the Devils a 3-0 lead just 13:22 into the game.
The Hawks still had a chance to rally in the third, but another breakdown spelled the end. Taylor Hall beat Anton Forsling on a breakaway to give the Devils a 4-1 lead at 2:02 of the period.
“Sometimes, you have to hang in there,” Toews said, “and play good enough and check well enough to keep teams off the scoresheet when you know they’re going to be flying in the first period in their own building. We did all the little things we didn’t want to do in the first. I think our effort is the biggest reason for that.
“We played some great hockey in the second. They did a great job of clearing pucks and not giving us second chances. Tough to come back when you’re down a bunch of goals like that.”
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