NHL All-Star Game: Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane gets one win but falls in final
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SAN JOSE, Calif. — The All-Star Game wasn’t a total loss for the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane.
He got off to a great start Saturday and scored twice to help the Central Division win its opening game against the Pacific, but he failed to score as his crew fell 10-5 to the Metropolitan in the title game at SAP Center.
‘‘Nice to win one,’’ Kane said after getting knocked out in the opener the last three years. ‘‘Fun day, fun weekend overall. It would’ve been nice to win it all, but what are you gonna do?’’
The Central went scoreless against Henrik Lundqvist in the first half of the final as the Metropolitan opened a 5-0 lead and cruised to the $1 million prize.
Kane, making his eighth All-Star appearance, looked as though he would be in the mix for MVP early in the night. He and the Central were so overpowering in a 10-4 victory against the Pacific that the San Jose crowd wanted goalie John Gibson of the rival Ducks yanked.
Gibson either didn’t care or was just that terrible. Whichever it was, he allowed seven goals on nine shots. The fans chanted, ‘‘Ducks suck,’’ then went with, ‘‘We want Fleury,’’ a call for Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Kane zipped one past Gibson’s glove side five minutes into the game, then beat him again off a pass from Jets right wing Blake Wheeler shortly before the intermission to make it 7-1.
Kane’s goals were part of an eight-goal run by the Central that buried the reigning All-Star Game champs, and he finished the semifinal with three points in 8:01 on the ice.
‘‘It’s always fun to score a few goals,’’ he said, but his lasting memory from the weekend was getting to know some of the younger All-Stars, such as centers Clayton Keller of the Coyotes and Matthew Barzal of the Islanders.
Barzal, who had a goal against the Hawks on Tuesday, scored twice and had three assists in the championship game.
‘‘He’s gonna be a great player for a long time,’’ Kane said.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby earned the MVP with two goals and three assists in the final after scoring twice and adding an assist in the semifinals against the Atlantic.
Kane’s performance was along the lines of what he has been doing lately. He closed the first half of the season with 12 goals and 15 assists in his last 12 games. He has 29 goals and 42 assists overall, ranking fifth in the NHL with 71 points.
The weekend was a welcome diversion in what otherwise has been a grueling season for the Hawks. Their run as one of the NHL’s elite teams ended when they missed the playoffs last season, and they’re careening toward that fate again. It has been a hard reality for Kane to absorb.
‘‘It’s a tough league to be good for a long time, especially with the salary cap,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Your younger players get better, and everyone wants raises. It’s tough to keep teams together. It’s never really fun to see, but that’s just the way it is with the league now.’’
The Hawks insist they’re still chasing a playoff spot despite entering the break at 18-24-9 and trailing the Avalanche by seven points for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
They snapped a five-game losing streak with victories against the Capitals and Islanders at home and resume their quest Friday against the Sabres.
‘‘We’re in these close games and can’t find ways to get points; it just kills you,’’ Kane said. ‘‘By no means are we counting the season out yet, but we definitely have a lot of work to do these last 31 games.’’