Another Kane Hat Trick Seals The Deal

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Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane skates between several hats after scoring a hat trick against the Pittsburgh Penguins, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won 4-1. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

by Scott King

Sidney Crosby and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins entered the United Center Wednesday night to take on a red-hot Chicago Blackhawks team who’ve won nine of their last 10 games. By the end of the night, after an endless display of skillful, high octane hockey, Crosby and the Penguins would realize the Hawks wouldn’t be cooling off any time soon, especially not Wednesday night.

Despite a fast-paced start, especially by the Hawks who spent around the first three minutes of the game in the Pens’ zone, the first period would remain scoreless.

At 8:49 in the second period, Patrick Kane kept the puck on a two-on-one with Nick Schmaltz and put one past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 1-0 in favor of Chicago.

Later in the second, after a very brief video review, it was determined Scott Wilson scored to bring the game to a 1-1 tie.

With just under 24 seconds left in the second period, Richard Panik put the Hawks back ahead 2-1 with a wrist shot. The goal marked a seven-game point streak with 10 points for Panik.

Kane scored again late in the third period, again assisted by Schmaltz, but also by Artemi Panarin. When asked if there was a difference between setting up Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews for a play, Schmaltz responded: “No, they both bury it, so just give them the puck.”

With 41 seconds left in regulation, Kane completed the hat trick on the empty net. It was his second three-goal night in three games.

“Sometimes players get a little streaky, sometimes you get hot,” said Kane following the game. “Sometimes like tonight, I don’t think I played my best game tonight, but you get opportunities, you get chances and you find ways to score goals.

“I think if you work hard enough, especially in this game with the players I play with, if you do the right things out there, eventually chances are going to come.”

The winger gave credit to the Penguins for being a tough team to play against.

“They’re a good team,” Kane said. “I think if you look at their lineup, they have a lot of offense, some players that can definitely scare you offensively. At the same time, they play a pretty hard-nosed, tough game. They have guys that finish their checks, a lot of so-called sand paper on that team. They’re a good team all around.”

Despite the score being a little lopsided, Crosby thought the game showcased a good matchup.

“It was a good hockey game. I think they’ve got some guys who can score, and a highly skilled team. I think pretty much what we expected, what we saw tonight. It’s a game of mistakes and we didn’t capitalize on theirs and they capitalized on ours.”

The two-time Stanley Cup champion seemed to think hockey fans would enjoy a Penguins vs. Blackhawks Stanley Cup final when asked about it.

“If tonight was any indication of what the hockey would look like, it was a good hockey game. People who watched that game I think, were entertained. There were some chances at both ends. Both teams played hard, the goalies were good. One power play between both teams, so it was even strength, most of it had a good pace. I think a lot of skill was on display tonight.”

Cooking with Gas

The Blackhawks have won 10 of their last 11 games.

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