BUFFALO, N.Y. — Patrick Kane loves coming home and putting on a show.
He had two goals and two assists Friday in the Blackhawks’ 7-3win over the Sabres at KeyBank Center. His breakaway goal in the second period gave him 900 career points. He’s the fifth Hawks player and the youngest American-born player in NHL history to reach that mark.
“Coming back, it’s almost like you have that little nervousness, anxiousness,”said Kane,who has seven goals in eight games here. “So many good memories here. A lot of family, a lot of friends watching the game and enjoying this once a year. Always a game you look forward to on the schedule.
“You do it back at home with a lot of people here knowing it’s the 900th, that’s pretty exciting. It makes it even better.”
Kane, who added an empty-netter, has 16 goals in his last 16 games. He’s at 31 for the season and stayed on track to chase his career high of 46.
It was a good step in the Hawks’ frantic fight for the playoffs, too, as they won for the third straight time to match their best streak of the season. They go into Saturday’s game at the Wild trailing the Avalanche by five points for the second wild-card spot.
They came out feisty after a nine-day break, and there were several tussles. The most notable came at the end of the first period when Jonathan Toews deemed Rasmus Ristolainen’s hit on Kane to be a dirty play. Toews immediately knocked Ristolainen down and put him in a headlock. Both players were penalized.
“Johnny’s not one to fight a lot,” Kane said. “You understand how much it means when it actually happens.”
The game got hectic despite the Hawks leading 3-0 late in the second period. The Sabres cut it to 4-3 with 12:44 remaining.
They felt it slipping and thought back to a game against Vegas last month in which they blew a similar lead before losing in overtime.
Not this time. Defenseman Connor Murphy,still steaming about his hooking penalty that led to a Sabres power-play goal early in the third period, had his second goal of the season with about eight minutes left to squash the threat.
Kane drew three defenders on the wing and slipped one back to Murphy up top for the open shot. He fired it past Linus Ullmark stick-side and celebrated with a forceful fist pump and kick.
“I looked like I knew what I was doing,” Murphy joked. “When you see Kaner get the puck on an open break, you know he’s gonna find you if there’s an open spot. Luckily there was one.
“I knew they had momentum, so the goal felt good to push back and give us that lead to help close it.”
Duncan Keith also added a rare goal, darting in on a rush and cleaning up his own rebound for his second of the season, and Brandon Saad scored twice to bump his total to 17.
Cam Ward was solid in net on a night in which the Hawks allowed 43 shots on goal and gave the Sabres numerous opportunities at the net. He has a .937 save percentage in his last two games.