When Patrick Kane recorded his hat trick in the second period, it completed his four-point night, gave him 100 points for the season and gave the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead at the time.
While Kane’s point total was a statement, the Blackhawks’ lead was almost erased. Fortunately for them, they held on in a game that got a little too exciting for their taste.
Kane hit another milestone and Artemi Panarin also had a four-point game as the Blackhawks held on to beat the Boston Bruins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. The victory was also Joel Quenneville’s 800th as a head coach and solidified the Blackhawks’ hold on third place in the Central Division (99 points). Claiming second isn’t entirely out of the question, although it got a little tougher with the St. Louis Blues taking a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain four point behind the Blues (103 points), who face the Blackhawks here on Thursday.
Marian Hossa left the game in the third period with what looked to be a left-leg injury but Quenneville said Hossa could play Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.
“He seemed to be OK,” Quenneville said. “We’ll know more tomorrow but we don’t think it’s much. Hopefully he’ll be fine and ready to go on Tuesday.”
As for Kane, who entered this game with 96 points, achieving 100 points, especially with his second career regular-season hat trick, made for a great Sunday.
“It’s special,” Kane said. “I think that’s kind of a mark you always kind of dream of hitting. For it to happen this year in front of the home crowd with a few games left is pretty special. Just one of those nights where things were going in, our line was creating a lot. We had a lot of chances, so it was just a fun night overall.”
It was a fun night if you were a Blackhawks second liner. Kane, Panarin and Artem Anisimov, who had three points including the Blackhawks’ opening goal (power play), were clicking like they were most of the regular season. Panarin now has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last two games. So why the sudden outburst for Panarin, who had two assists in the nine games prior to Friday’s game?
“Kane woke up. And we start to play together,” Panarin said through interpreter Stan Stiopkin. “I cannot say it was my best game, but it was a good result. Sometimes you play well, sometimes you play better, but [you get] less points. Just happens.”
And just as the Blackhawks were en route to what they thought was an easy victory, the Bruins had their say. Boston scored two goals within 11 seconds late in the second period (David Pastrnak’s breakaway with 15.6 seconds remaining and Patrice Bergeron’s first of two with 4.5 seconds remaining) and another two in the third (Bergeron and Brad Marchand) to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 6-4 with more than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
“We had a perfect 39 [minutes] and change there, then we had a self-inflicted wound at the end of the second and then bingo, right after,” Quenneville said. “Way more exciting than we needed it to be.”
The Blackhawks stopped the bleeding at that point, but it was a valuable lesson.
“They got four goals pretty quickly and it was a new game,” Teuvo Teravainen said. “We had a good start. We were rolling pretty good 6-0. We just have to stay focused, play simple.”
The Blackhawks had reasons to celebrate on Sunday, from Kane’s 100 points to Quenneville’s 800th victory to their team victory, which still gives them a chance at second place and home ice vs. the Blues. It was just a little too close for their comfort at the end.
“A little nerve-wracking,” Quenneville said. “They’re playing that type of game to risk all-out offense [late]. Trying to stop it, we didn’t do a good enough job for our liking. But certainly, you talk about the positives, there were a lot of good things that happened today.”