BUFFALO, N.Y. – The boos Patrick Kane heard from the hometown crowd when he had the puck at times were a bit surprising, but Kane didn’t mind.
“I’ve been at a lot of games in this building when I was a younger kid. I remember them booing Eric Lindros when he was on Philly. He got thrown out of the game with 10 minutes left and it wasn’t fun anymore to watch the game because no one was booing him,” Kane said.
By the end of Saturday afternoon’s game, Buffalo Sabres fans had even more reason to boo Kane.
Kane scored the tying goal on a 6-on-3 power play with 33.5 seconds remaining in regulation, then scored the shootout winner in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Sabres. The Blackhawks have now won four of their last five games.
Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 28 shots in overtime and regulation, and all three of the Sabres’ shootout attempts, for the victory. Dennis Rasmussen scored his third goal of the season.
For Kane, it was a successful return home.
“Yeah, it was exciting,” he said. “We made it a little tough on ourselves to make it come down to the end there. Didn’t have a power play all game and we got two there at the end. It was nice that we took advantage of it. Great pass by the Bread Man [Artemi Panarin] there and nice to finish it off and tie it up; but [it was] definitely a special ending.”
It wasn’t looking like the Blackhawks would get any points out of this one. It wasn’t their best game, as they were quiet after Rasmussen gave them a 1-0 lead 6:04 into the game. Ryan O’Reilly scored with 3:20 remaining in regulation and the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the waning minutes.
Then things got weird. Josh Gorges tripped Kane and Rasmus Ristolainen was called for high-sticking with 3:33 remaining in regulation, giving the Blackhawks a 5-on-3. Crawford came off with about a minute remaining in thegame to give the Blackhawks the rare 6-on-3. And with just one second left on the advantage, Kane took the pass from Panarin and scored.
“[Coach Joel Quenneville] was signaling me to be ready so I guess he figured if we had nothing going in the first minute there, then he would take me out,” Crawford said. “Good patience by Arty there in front of the net to get it to Kaner. He doesn’t miss too many of those in the open net.”
Quenneville admitted it was a risk to pull Crawford on the 5-on-3 – the Sabres just missed an empty-net opportunity wide once he left. But the risk paid off.
“You’re down a goal, not a lot was happening in that first minute. It’s nothing you ever practice, let’s put it that way,” Quenneville said. “We don’t practice 6-on-3 but I liked the guys we had on the ice.”
No, it wasn’t the way the Blackhawks would’ve drawn this one up. They’ll take the way it ended. So will Kane, boos included.
“I’m on the road team, they’re cheering for the Sabres. Nothing you don’t expect,” he said. “And sometimes that stuff kind of gets you into the game a little more, too.”