In their 10th game of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to capture their first win of the season on home ice against the Ottawa Senators. After COVID-19 decimated the roster throughout the early stretch of the season, the Blackhawks learned Patrick Kane was set to return. On Monday, he skated in the morning before suiting up.
Monday’s game proved to be more than just another win. In fact, it was a banner night for Kane. Not only did Kane record a hat trick and four points, but he also became the third-leading scorer in Blackhawks’ history.
The first period gave Blackhawks fans the same feeling the last nine games had, discouragement. For the majority of the opening frame, the Blackhawks were outshot by the Senators, as the young and upcoming roster dominated play. That said, Marc-Andre Fleury, who was a surprise starter on Monday, stood tall stopping every puck he saw in the first 20 minutes.
However, just before the end of the period, Chicago put together an incredible shift. In fact, Patrick Kane was on the ice so long that he spent three shifts with three different lines in the offensive zone. The late look gave the Hawks their first momentum of the contest.
Hagel did a beautiful job sneaking into the slot. After Kane’s shot attempt deflected toward Hagel, the 23-year-old wasted no time and shot immediately to beat Matt Murray through his five-hole.
It wasn’t pretty, but great late pressure gave the Hawks the 1-0 lead entering the first intermission.
The Blackhawks took advantage of an early middle-frame power play to extend their lead. After Toews and Ryan Carpenter crashed the net, Patrick Kane played clean-up man and backhanded the puck into the net for his first goal of the evening.
Aside from Kane’s tally, the remainder of the period was quiet. However, Fleury continued to shine in net and provide the stable presence that Blackhawks fans expected when he was acquired this summer.
The Hawks entered the final 20 with a two-goal lead. But the final frame provided more action than the first 40 minutes combined.
In the first two minutes of the third period, three goals were scored between the two teams. 27 seconds into the period, Hagel scored his second goal of the evening. His turnaround shot from the blue line deflected off a Senators player and, thanks to a Carpenter screen, beat Murray for the 3-0 lead.
The goal wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t worthy of consistent replays for a week. That said, it was effective and Hagel is stepping up to become an important depth scorer for this team. Just under a minute after Hagel’s tally, the Hawks struck again.
He wore a superman cape long ago in the All-Star Game skills challenge. On Monday, Kane was truly doing his best representation of the classic superhero. 1:22 into the period, Erik Gustafsson found Kane backdoor through the slot with Alex DeBrincat crashing the net. Kane didn’t hesitate, potting his second of the night to re-write history. With the goal, Kane stood alone with 407 career goals in Blackhawks history, third-most all-time.
However, as Kane’s historic goal was being celebrated, the Senators struck. After having numerous good looks already in the game, Alex Formenton scored over Fleury’s left shoulder to bring the Senators within three.
Despite the goal from the visitors, the Blackhawks still controlled the game. Just over five minutes after Formenton’s tally, Kane capped off his historic evening. On a nice pass from Dominik Kubalik, Kane snuck in behind the defense and finished off a beautiful play for his third goal of the night. The hats quickly rained down on the ice at the United Center.
Fleury proceeded to stop every additional puck he saw from that point and the Blackhawks hung on for their first win of the season. It was a special win for many reasons. Fleury picked up his first win, Kane made history, and the Hawks broke out of a massive slump.
As a fan, it feels good that they won. The victory was long overdue and this team has underperformed given the roster construction on paper. But on Monday, Kane’s heroic performance proved to be enough to get the win.
Let’s not forget Fleury’s performance, Hagel’s two goals, and strong nights from Toews and Kubalik. Even with contributions from across the board, Monday was the Patrick Kane show and he continued to exemplify why he is dubbed “Showtime”.
In addition, Kane’s performance is mind-blowing because he sat for 10 days. Due to COVID-19 protocol, Kane had not played or skated in 10 days. However, given his four-point performance on Monday night, it didn’t matter for the superstar.
Kane’s 19:40 of ice time paced all Blackhawks forwards and was fourth-most behind their big three defensemen (Connor Murphy, Seth Jones, Jake McCabe). It was truly a special performance in the team’s first win.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks stay in Chicago for another game on Wednesday night against the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes. The undefeated Canes visit the Hawks at 7:30 PM CDT. After Wednesday, the Hawks travel to Winnipeg on Friday to take on the Jets before returning home to play Nashville on Sunday night.
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