Blackhawks

Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers

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Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers

Patrick Kanes scoring drought has been tough on him. The frustration had built and at times, after great chances went by the wayside, hed look skyward and shake his head.

I kind of even forgot how to celebrate, to be honest with you, Kane said.

Maybe Fridays performance will jog his memory.

Kane scored his first goal since early this month, and Jonathan Toews scored his 27th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 at the United Center on Friday night.

The game was delayed a half hour due to the inclement weather here in Chicago, but it was another victory for the Blackhawks, who have now won five of their last six games. They enter Saturdays matchup in Nashville with 64 points, the most in the NHL.

And it was also a relief for Kane, who hadnt scored since Jan. 5 in Philadelphia.

Yeah, it was a good feeling, Kane said. I didnt know what I was doing (on my goal celebration), but it was good to put one in.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he had three A-plus chances before that in the same period there. It was just a matter of time. The last couple games hes been trending with more quality looks. Its nice to get that one. I expect him to be more confident in those areas and keep it going.

Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery got the victory, stopping 18 of 19 shots.

Kane and Toews each added an assist, as that top line was once again stellar. Stalberg said it was good to see his linemate find his scoring touch.

Hes been getting lots of chances, and it seems like hes in those areas right now, Stalberg said. Getting a goal like that probably helps him get more confidence. If we can get him scoring were going to be even more dangerous.

Toews goal came on a mini-breakaway and two great passes from Stalberg and Kane. Keiths goal, his first since Nov. 13 against Edmonton, came just over two minutes later.

The goalie wasnt able to see it because (Andrew Brunette) was doing a great job screening and (Nick Leddy) and (Marian) Hossa moved it around pretty good there, Keith said. I had some time to get a shot off there.

The Blackhawks team confidence is surging. A good winning streak and 64 points will do that for a group. Kanes been trying to get his confidence back. His goal on Friday could do that for him.

It was nice to come up for the team tonight and score a big one, Kane said. Any time you can score after a slump, and a lot of focus on it, its a good feeling.

Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

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USA Today

Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

ST. LOUIS — Of the 11 NHL All-Stars from the Central Division this season, four of them are Blues: Jordan Binnington, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo. And deservedly so.

The other seven were all booed by Blues fans on Friday, but none were louder than the ones Patrick Kane drew.

Kane steps on the ice for warmups? Boos.

Kane’s name announced as a Central Division representative? Boos.

Kane touches the puck for one of the skills challenges? Boos.

Heck, even during Thursday’s media session when seven other skaters were talking at the same time as Kane, he was interrupted by boos.

So when the nine-time Blackhawks All-Star won the Shooting Stars challenge at the Skills Competition on Friday, Blues fans weren’t afraid to show how they felt about it. It didn’t help that it was the final event of the night, either.

After the competition, Kane was asked about the crowd reception in St. Louis. And he responded in terrific fashion.

"The boys were asking me why I was getting booed," Kane said. "And I said I shouldn't have scored those overtime playoff goals against them and maybe they wouldn't have booed me."

Over the last decade, Kane helped lead the Blackhawks to nine consecutive playoff appearances, five Conference Finals and three Stanley Cup runs. He was a thorn in the side of every Central Division team over that span, including the Blues.

In 64 career games against the Blues, Kane has 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points. He also has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 13 postseasons contests, with two of those goals being game winners.

As they say, fans don’t boo nobodies.

"I remember me and my dad, we went to watch the Flyers and Sabres fans were booing [Eric] Lindros the whole game," Kane recalled. "I think he got kicked out with like 10 minutes left in the game or something, and then the game was no fun anymore because there was no one left to boo or watch. 

“You kind of view it as, obviously it’s somewhat a sign of hatred, but somewhat a sign of respect too. It’s fun when you play in Nashville or Winnipeg or places like that, and you hold onto the puck and they’re booing you and you want to hold onto it longer. [Duncan Keith] get booed in Vancouver, which is always pretty funny to see him up his game a little bit and hold onto the puck as well. It’s somewhat a sign of respect.”

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Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars, Kendall Coyne part of history and more from 2020 NHL Skills Competition

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AP

Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars, Kendall Coyne part of history and more from 2020 NHL Skills Competition

ST. LOUIS — The NHL Skills Competition can be hit or miss, but 2020 will go down as one of the better ones in recent memory. There were two new events, history was made and there was certainly drama.

It also ended in a fun night for Blackhawks fans, who got to see their lone All-Star wrap up the event with a win in St. Louis.

Here's a recap of some of the best moments from Friday:

Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars challenge

It may have been the final competition of the night, but it was a memorable one. The NHL introduced a new event called the "Shooting Stars" challenge, which featured 10 players trying to hit a variety of targets from an elevated platform in the crowd. Each one had seven pucks to rack up as many points as possible.

Mitch Marner, who was the second shooter, recorded 22 points, which was the score to beat. Only Kane matched that, although the hometown fans lobbies for Ryan O’Reilly to be included in the group after Blues legend Brett Hull took his final shot and missed.

In a one-shot sudden death “score-off,” Kane picked up two points while Marner came away with zero. Much to the disappointment of Blues fans, Kane officially took home the W.

"It was alright, I think it's a little gimmicky," Kane said. "But at the same time, try to have fun with it and enjoy the event. We all had a little pact that we're going to shoot for the arch and try to get as many points as we can through the 10-pointers. It was fun to win it."

History made for second straight year

Kendall Coyne Schofield made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to participate in the NHL Skills Competition, replacing an injured Nathan MacKinnon in the fastest skater competition. She logged a time of 14.346, which was seventh out of the eight participants.

This year, there was an entire event dedicated for the women skaters for the first time in league history.

USA and Canada played against each other in a 3-on-3 tournament, with the 10 best players from each country making up the rosters. It was entertaining back and forth action, and Canada prevailed 2-1 despite USA nearly scoring on a buzzer beater in the final period. It was a terrific event for the sport and the growth of women's hockey.

"It's something that you dream about, the day that there's routinely that many people watching women's hockey and there are sold-out building," Coyne Schofield said. "And so to have that here tonight for 3-on-3 alongside the NHL's best is just incredible." 

A new fastest skater

After winning the event for three consecutive years, Connor McDavid was dethroned in the fastest skater competition despite posting the best time of his career (13.215). He was edged out by Mathew Barzal by just 0.04 with a time of 13.175. 

Barzal missed Dylan Larkin's record of 13.172 from 2016 by only 0.003.

"I told Connor when I was out there, I don't think I could have skated a better lap," Barzal said. "I don't know if I could do it again. It was exciting. Obviously you want to try to win and there's a lot of fast skaters out there. To skate a lap like that today was fun, it was cool."

A new hardest shot champion

With the hardest shot competition in St. Louis, it was only fitting for the Blues to bring back Al MacInnis, who’s a seven-time champion of the event. And that’s exactly what they did.

MacInnis hopped on the ice, waved to the crowd, teed up for a celebrity shot and clocked in at 100.4 mph with a wooden stick. The official time may never be confirmed, but in the eyes of everyone there, it didn't matter. It was a cool moment to see MacInnis blast one more shot.

Shea Weber, who won the hardest shot competition three consecutive years from 2015-17, made his return to the event and reclaimed the title with a first shot of 105.9 and a second of 106.5, both of which were harder than any other skater.

Weber’s 106.5 was 2.0 away from his personal best set in 2015 and 2.3 away from Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 in 2012.

Jordan Binnington clutches up in St. Louis

One of the loudest moments of the night came during the “Save Streak” challenge, where all eight goaltenders competed to make the most consecutive saves.

The streak to beat was nine by Andrei Vasilevskiy with one netminder left: the hometown guy.

And, like he did throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Binnington clutched up and topped Vasilevskiy by stopping 10 in a row, one of which came from Tomas Hertl wearing a Justin Bieber face mask in honor of the social media bet Bieber and Binnington made about a future breakaway challenge.

"We expected more of the Biebs today but he'll be alright," Binnington said. "He'll figure it out. We'll take that one. I don't think it counts towards the real competition. ... It was pretty funny. I'm sure he'll get a laugh out of it. Hertl did a great job."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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