Patrick Kane looks to extend hot start vs. Rangers

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates his goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Chicago. The Chicago Blackhawks won 3-1. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

Patrick Kane will look to build off his career best eight goals in the first nine games of the season tonight when the New York Rangers visit the United Center.

Kane is eighth in the NHL with 13 points (eight goals, five assists). Five of his goals have come in the third period and he’s earned a point in all but one game this season.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was stunned to learn it was pretty much Kane’s best start to a season.

“Oh really?,” Toews said. “I just thought that was par for the course for him. As good as he is, he’s as consistent as they come. I feel like there’s a lot of star players in the league that have those droughts and rougher starts, or even tougher seasons where they don’t score as much.

“It’s almost no big deal. As you said, he’s having the best start of his career and I didn’t even realize it. I just thought this is how Kaner’ plays and it’s what we come to expect for him. He’s consistent. Even when things don’t go his way, he always finds a way to make something happen offensively. He’s always been a big part of our team in that sense.”

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t as surprised to hear some of Kane’s stats so far this season.

“Over those 10 years I don’t know that there’s been a better, [more] consistent player or performer in the game,” Quenneville said. “I think game in, game out he gives us a lot of offense. Has the puck as much as anybody does in the course of a game.

“So that helps. You don’t have to defend a lot and he’s a threat and he gives the other team’s matchup issues. Jonny’ on a different line usually helps us get them some concerns and gives us some balance as well.”

Emergency!

Blackhawks emergency goalie Scott Foster, who made headlines last year after stopping all seven Winnipeg Jets shots he faced on March 29 when goalies Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia were injured in the final 14 minutes of the 6-2 Chicago win, had a new role at Thursday’s optional skate.

The full time accountant will serve as a goalie at the Hawks’ optional skates on home ice from now on in case the starter needs a rest and to help with drills.

“It’s pretty cool to see him go through what he did last year and the story that he was,” Toews said. “Obviously we can rely upon him to show up for practice once in a while. He’s good out there. He definitely makes you work on your shot. It’s not like you’re not shooting against a professional goalie.”

The Hawks head coach imagines Foster likes the new gig.

“I think he likes the idea,” Quenneville said. “It beats the Beer League.”

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