Blackhawks heading out for Western Canada trip

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, left, celebrates with defensemen Brent Seabrook and Erik Gustafsson, of Sweden, after Kane's first goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

by Scott King

The Blackhawks (6-3-3) will be heading out to Western Canada for a three-game road trip. First up, the Hawks play the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, then the Edmonton Oilers Thursday and the Calgary Flames Saturday.

The team returns to the United Center to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 8.

“I was watching them a little bit last night,” Patrick Kane, the league’s leading goal-scorer (11) said of the Canucks. “They play pretty hard. Like you said, they have some young guys that are really producing. I think that Pettersson is really taking the league by storm.

“I think he’s got seven goals in seven or eight games, so he’s got a big start for them, Horvat as well. It seems like they got a few injuries they’re playing through as well and they’re doing a good job. I know they had a big win last night against Minnesota. I don’t know, it seems like there’s some excitement in the city and with the young team I’m sure the fans and the organization are excited about where they’re at.”

Kane extended his point streak to six games (six goals, four assists) assisting on Brent Seabrook’s goal in Sunday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Oilers in Chicago.

“I think he’s got a little bit more of a shoot-first mentality,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane’s game this season. “He has the puck more. He finds a way to get it, and maybe he does some good things with it. But he’s had some looks there around the net.

“How he gets the puck on his stick a lot, he has a lot to do with it, and I think guys are aware of where he is on the ice and know that’s a good option. Kaner has a little quickness that he’s added to his game, seems to get him a little bit looser to get a shot away. If he keeps getting those looks or quantity of looks, I think that production is going to stay there.”

The Hawks coach recognizes the road trip will be a good opportunity to grab valuable points in a few days, but that it won’t be easy.

“We’re playing three teams that are all in the mix,” Quenneville said. “All are improved, they’re all younger and they all have some speed in the lineup, and everybody’s playing for the same two points. So let’s play the right way.

“I think when you play seven in 11, you might lose some of the focus going into games. Let’s make sure we’re going to start the right way, with a real purpose.”

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