COLUMBUS, Ohio — Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin have made a dynamic duo throughout the Blackhawks’ season. On Saturday night, they enjoyed a couple of individual great moments.
Kane finalized his hold on the Art Ross Trophy and Panarin cashed in on performance bonuses during the Blackhawks’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. The Blackhawks will most likely face the St. Louis Blues,
Kane and Panarin each had two goals and an assist to cap their stellar individual seasons. Kane finishes the regular season with 106 points to win the Art Ross Trophy, becoming the first American to do so. Panarin, who collected $2.575 million in performance bonuses if he finished top 10 among forwards in at least one of several categories (goals, assists, points or points per game), did so.
Corey Crawford, playing in his first game since March 14, allowed five goals on 25 shots.
“Yeah, just get the speed [down]. That was a quick game,” said Crawford, who’s been out since mid-March with an upper-body injury. “It’s hard after missing some games to come in but… there are some things I thought I did well and obviously some other things that didn’t go too well. But it’s good to get in there and get a feel for it.”
For coach Joel Quenneville, getting Crawford back in this one was key, regardless of the outcome.
“He was fine. I think I didn’t mind some of the things we did out there today. But getting that game under his belt was the best thing for him and for us. It was a big step,” said Quenneville, who the turned attention to his second liners.
“There was some wow factor with the Bread Man and Kaner tonight that was fun to see,” he said. “They finished the year on an amazing note.”
The two ended the season much as they started it, feeding off each other and supplying plenty of points for the Blackhawks. Panarin finished with 30 goals; he’s the first Blackhawks rookie to do that since Eric Daze (1995-96). Kane said it was nice to see Panarin cash in — literally and figuratively.
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“Yeah, excited for him. That’s a great feat. And to be in the top 10 in scoring your rookie season’s pretty special,” Kane said. “I think with him, he’s going to be doing some special things as a Blackhawk down the road hopefully for a long time. It’s been a lot of fun playing with him, getting to know him. He’s a great kid, great personality, and I think the fans will enjoy watching him for a long time to come.”
For Kane, knowing his name will be on this year’s Art Ross Trophy, given to the league’s top scorer, is also special — more so given his nationality.
“It’s something I’ll really enjoy, take pride in playing for the U.S. and being an American kid. It was fun to break the point streak this year, and now to be the first American player to win the scoring title is pretty special in itself, too,” he said. “It was an exciting year and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”
The Blackhawks are through the regular season. Quenneville expects the team’s injured players — Marian Hossa (lower body), Andrew Shaw and Artem Anisimov (both upper) — to be ready for Game 1, whenever Game 1 is. Kane and Panarin have done some special things this season; now to see what they and the rest of the Blackhawks can do in the postseason.