Patrick Kane’s 1,000th point provides historic moment in Blackhawks’ win over Jets

Kane had to stress through most of the 5-2 victory before finally achieving the milestone, but the bench-clearing celebration was a moment he’ll never forget.

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Patrick Kane celebrated his 1,000th career point Sunday shortly before being mobbed by the entire Blackhawks’ roster.

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For the first 54 minutes of the Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory against the Jets, Patrick Kane didn’t look like himself.

Three Stanley Cups hadn’t rattled him. The 380 goals and 619 assists in his career to date had come as easily as they have for any scorer in Hawks history. Even the team’s struggles in recent years hadn’t disrupted his incredible year-after-year productivity.

The quest for his 1,000th career point, however, had him slightly jittery. He made some uncharacteristic turnovers, forced some passes and ventured offside on one rush.

And then finally, at 14:14 of the third period Sunday, Brandon Saad — one of many forwards over the years to have developed into an excellent player under the tutelage of Kane and Jonathan Toews — put Kane out of his misery and onto another legendary list in the NHL’s record books. Within seconds, the bench had emptied into a 20-man celebratory hug.

“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 [Toews] or [Duncan Keith] or [Alex] DeBrincat recently. Saad to finish it off was pretty cool.”

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Jonathan Toews organized the benches-clearing celebration for Kane’s milestone.

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Saad was unfortunately left on the perimeter, as his tap-in goal — after Kane found Ryan Carpenter from behind the net, and Carpenter fed Saad through the crease — left him on the wrong side of the ice at first.

“I kind of felt bad for him there,” Kane joked. “All the other guys on the ice came to me, and he was alone in the corner, even though he was the one who scored.”

Saad didn’t seem to mind too much, though.

“[Kane’s] one of those few who can achieve goals like that,” Saad said. “He’s a special player, [and] he keeps getting better with age.”

Coach Jeremy Colliton clarified later that Toews had planned the bench-clearing celebration — which Kane had unknowingly guessed was the case — and notified the referees in advance. For an occasion only 89 other players in NHL history have ever experienced, exceptions can be made.

The crowd of 21,487 — which had clearly kept Kane’s imminent milestone on its mind all night, even as the Hawks controlled their way through a fifth consecutive win — continued its own ovation for minutes, as well.

“I’ll never forget that moment, and I told the team that afterward,” Kane said. “Just looking at everyone’s face and everyone’s excitement was a cool moment.”

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Kane poses with his milestone puck after the Blackhawks’ 5-2 win over Winnipeg.

AP Photos

No. 88 came close a number of times Saturday in Toronto to hitting the milestone, but the long-awaited point seemed fated all along to happen in Chicago.

Even though Kane would’ve perhaps liked to get it out of the way sooner — and for two specific fans to be among the 21,487.

“Tough weather in Buffalo, [so my parents] couldn’t get to Toronto the other night, and they couldn’t get to Chicago today,” he said, a twinge of emotion seeping out. “It’s tough not having them here. They’ve been a big part of my career.”

Still, as the Hawks bear down on a wild-card spot with wins in 11 of 15 games, there are bigger things to focus on.

“I’ve been playing OK lately, but I think I can play a little bit better,” Kane said. “It’s nice to have it out of the way. Now I can just kind of focus on my game and where I can improve and help this team out.”

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