Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks over Kings with a heavy heart
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter February 4, 2014 12:22AM
Updated: February 4, 2014 10:44AM
Patrick Kane has scored the winning goal of one Stanley Cup Final and has won the Conn Smythe Trophy in another. But he rarely if ever has felt more emotion in a hockey setting than he did Monday night.
Just before the game, Kane learned that his grandfather, Donald Kane of Buffalo, had passed away. Kane scored 62 seconds into the game, added an assist and another goal as the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 at Staples Center.
‘‘It was a tough day overall,’’ Kane said as tears welled up in his eyes. ‘‘He was one of my great friends growing up. I’m really sad. A sad day. It was important to get the win. But when you have someone taken way from you that’s so close to you ... means so much ... it’s tough to hear that right before the game.’’
Kane pointed to the heavens after his first goal, on which Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp assisted. And his grandfather was on his mind when he was interviewed between periods by Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk. ‘‘Love ya, Gramps,’’ Kane said.
Kane said he did not let the emotion of the moment impact his play — at least not negatively.
‘‘I think you think about it a couple of times on the bench,’’ he said. ‘‘But overall I was trying to focus on the game and play well for him, I guess.
Kane said he was extremely close to his grandfather.
‘‘He’s a guy that I grew up with,’’ he said. ‘‘He lived next door to me my whole childhood. We’d do things like play cards and hang out by the pool throughout the summers. He came to a lot of my hockey games, but I think ... he was more worried about [my] grades and [me] being a good kid. It was a tough day for sure.’’
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed with the way Kane responded to such an emotional situation.
‘‘He’s a proud guy and his grandfather meant a lot to him,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It was probably a very emotional night for him. He played an unbelieveable game. Had the puck, scored and do so many other things. I’m sure he’s excited what he did for [his grandfather].’’
After scoring his first goal, Kane fed Bryan Bickell with a well-timed pass that Bickell buried past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead 8:44 into the game.
The Kings responded though. Drew Doughty scored on a slap shot from the point for a power play goal. And Anze Kopitar scored from close range to tie the game 2-2 with 13:30 left in the second period.
The Kings, who had the momentum for much of the second period, had several chances to take the lead, but were stymied by Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who stopped 31-of-34 shots.
The Hawks made Crawford’s excellent work pay off when Marcus Kruger re-directed a slap shot by Nick Leddy past Quick to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead with 6:09 left in the second period.
The Hawks broke it open in the third period. Leddy scored on a slap shot for a 4-2 lead with 12:59 left in regulation. Kane all but clinched it with a goal off a nice pass from Sharp for a 5-2 lead with 8:51 left. Tyler Toffoli scored 33 seconds later to account for the final score.
Quenneville was pleased with his team’s overall effort after a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks on Saturday. The Blackhawks are 2-0-2 on their six-game ‘‘ice show’’ road trip. They play the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday before the break for the Olympic Games.
Quenneville also toasted the many Blackhawks fans at Staples Center who made their presence known.
‘‘Great start. The power play. Kaner taking it to the net,’’ Quenneville said, listing some of the many positives he took from it. ‘‘We got some excitement in our game. Pretty remarkable how many Blackhawk fans were here [Monday night]. I think that helped the game.
‘‘They had their run in the second and had a lot of momentum and had some good chances in the second. You get off to a 2-0 start in this building, it certainly helps you.’’
As emotional as Kane was after the game, he still had an appreciation for a fine performance by his team.
‘‘I knew before the game this team was going to have a good response after last game in San Jose — that was a tough loss in a shootout,’’ Kane said, composing himself. ‘‘It was a great game overall. So it was nice to come back and putup some goals. We scored a lot tonight. It seemed like everyone was moving it around pretty good. It was a great effort from everyone.’’