What Patrick Kane and his linemates are doing this season is remarkable.
It’s also not nearly enough.
Kane and Artemi Panarin each scored Thursday to continue their torrid start, but the Blackhawks lost to the New Jersey Devils for the second time in a week, 3-2, on a late goal by Sergey Kalinin. Panarin had tied the game with 6:41 left in the game, but Kalinin scored on a rebound eight seconds into a Kane high-sticking penalty for the game-winner with 2:27 left.
Through 16 games, the second line of Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Kane has combined for 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists). All other Hawks forwards have combined for just 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists).
“You can’t have one line doing it every night,” Andrew Shaw said. “Everybody’s trying to chip in as best they can.”
Aside from a couple of bad rebounds that Corey Crawford (19 saves) gave up, and an Andrew Desjardins turnover that led to the second Devils goal and a permanent spot on the bench for the rest of the game, the Hawks generally were pleased with their effort on Thursday. The Devils don’t give up much, clogging the neutral zone and protecting the slot, but the Hawks had their chances against Cory Schneider, who finished with 27 saves.
In the first period, Marko Dano had a wide-open net, but Stephen Gionta got his stick on the shot, sending it into the crossbar. That’s been the story of the season for everyone not on that second line.
“If you get lucky, one goes by him,” said Kane, who had a goal (on a 5-on-3 power play) and an assist to extend his point streak to 11 games, three shy of his career high. “It’s a little bit of puck luck, too, with those guys and everyone on our team. We all want to contribute. We all want to score goals and we all want to be a part of the offense. Sometimes when it’s tough sledding, you want to stay in there and stay confident, as well.”
The Hawks will get a boost when Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival return this weekend, either in St. Louis on Saturday or home against Calgary on Sunday. And Kane thinks it’s only a matter of time that the law of averages kicks in for the other three lines.
“For sure,” he said. “It only makes sense that that would happen. I thought especially [Jonathan Toews’] line and [Teuvo] Teravainen had some really good plays out there tonight too. Those guys, keep shooting, keep puck possession and keep making plays. It’s only going to go in when you’re playing like that. I think you would worry a little bit more if you’re not getting those chances and you don’t have those shifts in their end. But at the same time for all of us, we can simplify our game. We’re only scoring a couple goals per game. I think all of us, including myself, can shoot the puck more, try to be more simple when we get the puck in their zone. Get the puck at the net and see what happens on first chances. It seems like that’s what creates the most havoc. We can all take a note from that.”