The Blackhawks won their fifth straight game, 5-2 against the Winnipeg Jets, and Patrick Kane reached 1,000 career points on Sunday. Here are four takeaways:
Kane 1K Watch ends
He did it. Patrick Kane stepped onto the United Center ice with 999 points, one shy of the monumental milestone shared by the greatest players to skate in the NHL and left Sunday's game among them.
With 5:46 remaining in the third period, Kane passed the puck from behind the net to Ryan Carpenter, who was in front, and Carpenter passed it to Brandon Saad, who scored to put the Hawks up 4-1. Kane was credited with a secondary assist on the goal and his 1,000th NHL point.
"That was special," Kane said of reaching the milestone. "Obviously nice to get it out of the way and move on and start the next portion of my career here.
"What a moment, obviously, with everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that moment with me. You see some faces in that pile that have been a big part of a lot of those points, whether it’s been Tazer or Duncs or DeBrincat recently, Saader to finish it off I think was pretty cool.
"I kind of felt bad for him there all the other guys on the ice came to me and he was kind of pulled into the corner even though he was the one that scored.
"Great play all around, Gus to keep it in, Carpy making the heads-up pass to Saader backdoor to finish it. Nice to get it out of the way, nice to move on. As far as everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that with me is something I’ll never forget."
Saad may have been "pulled into the corner" because he was the one who retrieved the puck for Kane.
Kane became the 90th player to reach 1,000 points in NHL history. Brian Propp is ahead of Kane at #89 (1,004). Kane has the fourth most points in Blackhawks history behind Denis Savard (1,096), Bobby Hull (1,153) and Stan Mikita (1,467).
The dynamic winger got #999 on Saturday after passing the puck to Saad, who sniped it over Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen’s stick to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at 11:02 of the first period in a 6-2 Hawks win in Toronto.
Hawks keep streakin
The Blackhawks extended their winning streak to five games with their win over the Jets, who they tied in the Western Conference standings to come within three points of a Wild Card spot.
Chicago wrapped up a perfect three-game road trip through Eastern Canada on Saturday after beating the Maple Leafs 6-2 in Toronto. The Hawks beat the Canadiens 4-1 in Montreal on Wednesday and the Senators 3-2 in Ottawa on Tuesday.
They began the streak by winning 4-2 against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday Jan. 11.
Dominik Kubalik scored on the Jets' empty net for the 5-2 final score. It was the rookie's 21st goal of the season. Toews assisted on the play, bringing him to 799 career points.
The Blackhawks have one game left: Tuesday vs. Joel Quenneville's Florida Panthers before the All-Star break.
Right on, Robin
Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner once again got the job done. Lehner made 19 saves on the Jets' 20 shots in the second period, including nine when the Blackhawks were killing off a four-minute double-minor penalty. He finished the game with 36 saves on 38 shots.
"We're finally starting to full buy-in to the system," Lehner said. "Full effort level, doing the right things at the right times. 15 games ago, we started playing good with leads, playing different, not backing up, just keep going at it. We did the same thing today in the third. Not just backing up that whole period, we went after them.
"Everyone's just doing their job, and we're starting to feel [that] doing those things gets you rewarded, and everyone just keeps doing it. We're doing well but we've just got to keep doing it because every point is crucial."
Drake Caggiula, who has four points in his past three games, had trouble staying out of the penalty box on Sunday. Caggiula took an interference penalty in the first period after putting a hit on Adam Lowry that knocked him out of the game, a second interference infraction tagged with unsportsmanlike conduct and a trip in the second period. The Hawks were able to kill off all eight minutes of his penalties.
"Well, I didn't love that he took four penalties no question," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The first one he's just playing hard. I think there was a bunch of hits like that tonight. The unsportsmanlike is one you don't like. Other than that it's kind of like tough circumstances.
"But he plays hard for the team, he's been playing well. He pays the price for the team and we want him to play on the edge. As long as he can I don't think this is going to be a pattern for him."
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