SAN JOSE, Calif. — Andrew Desjardins’ early season with the Blackhawks has been a bit frustrating.
He was recently put back into the lineup after being scratched for three consecutive games and, entering Wednesday’s game against his former tam, was still looking for his first point of the season.
His second trip back to San Jose proved to be a happy one.
Desjardins scored his first goal of the season and Patrick Kane extended his career-high point streak to 17 games as the Blackhawks beat the Sharks, 5-2, on Wednesday night.
Duncan Keith scored his third goal of the season and the 78th of his career, moving him past Pierre Pilote to fourth all-time among Blackhawks defensemen. Jonathan Toews added his eighth of the season. Andrew Shaw (empty net) and Brent Seabrook also scored. Corey Crawford stopped 27 of 29 shots in the victory.
Kane’s point streak is now a career-high 17 games. He’s one away from tying the mark set by a U.S.-born player (18 games held by Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel) and four away from tying the franchise mark, set by Bobby Hull (21 games in December 1971 and January 1972).
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Desjardins had been frustrated with the chances he has had this season, none of which resulted in goals or points. So his happiness — and perhaps his relief — was noticeable when he did score on Wednesday.
“I think you could tell in my reaction,” Desjardins said with a smile. “I’m not much for cellies. I just kind of yelled as loud as I could, I think. It felt good. It was a long time coming in a way, too, with the chances that I’ve had. It felt awesome.”
The Blackhawks were looking to build off their game in Vancouver, one in which they thought they did a lot right but lost. Wednesday’s game in San Jose, against a Sharks team that had won all six games on their recent road trip, was one of the Blackhawks’ best outings of the season.
“We just talked about that, maybe on the road it was our best complete game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had a good game in Vancouver with nothing to show for it. Today we got rewarded. Good back-to-back efforts as far as playing the right way, doing a lot of good things.”
The Blackhawks got the desired start, with Seabrook and Toews goals putting them up 2-1 after one. Kane’s primary assist on Seabrook’s goal extended his point streak about nine minutes into the game. Kane was a lot happier with his game, as well as that of his line with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, Wednesday night.
“It seemed like we didn’t pay too many shifts in our end as a line, and we had more control of the puck, too,” said Kane, who added he’s not thinking about the point streak as much as he is playing the right way. “You’re always looking to build off performances, I thought it was a step in the right direction.”
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Keith’s goal, which looked like a harmless shot from along the boards, put the Blackhawks up 3-1. Patrick Marleau made it interesting with his eighth goal of the season, which cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-2 with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation. But just 67 seconds later, Desjardins’ goal re-established the Blackhawks’ two-goal lead.
Desjardins wanted to capitalize on the chances he’s gotten. The Blackhawks wanted to build off the pre-Las Vegas portion of their Circus Trip. They all got what they were looking for on Wednesday.
“Our start was awesome,” Desjardins said. “I thought our puck-possession was good. Obviously they had a few flurries in the game, but I think that’s part of it, right? (You’re) not just gonna have the tide going your way the whole game. Yeah, I thought we played a pretty good all-around game, for sure.”