Patrick Kane is NHL’s Mr. November
BY HERB GOULD Staff Reporter December 3, 2013 12:28PM
Updated: December 3, 2013 10:46PM
The honors keep coming in for the soaring Blackhawks.
Patrick Kane was named the NHL’s first star for November on Tuesday. Kane’s award comes one day after Duncan Keith was named the NHL’s third star of the week ending Dec. 1.
‘‘It’s a pretty cool honor,’’ Kane said. ‘‘It probably speaks more for what the team’s been doing. When your team’s playing well, you’re going to have some personal achievements along the way. But, yeah, it’s pretty cool.’’
What Kane did in November had a lot to do with what the Hawks did, though. The gifted winger had nine goals, including four game-winners, among his 19 points as the Hawks won 12 of 15 games. He had a career-high 12-game point streak from Nov. 3 to Nov. 27, helping the Hawks surge to a 6-1 record on their annual circus trip.
‘‘He’s been playing great,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘In November, he was outstanding. It seems like he has the puck more than he has in the past. It seems like every time he hits the ice, he has the puck. That’s a good thing.’’
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding were the second and third stars, respectively.
Michal Handzus didn’t play because of an illness, Quenneville said. Handzus sat for the first time in five games after missing 14 games with an upper-body injury.
Brandon Pirri moved back into the second-line center slot he had occupied for a big chunk of Handzus’ injury. Pirri had six goals and five assists in 23 games before Tuesday.
Sheldon Brookbank dressed in Handzus’ place. Primarily a defenseman, Brookbank also can line up as a forward.
Corey Crawford was back in goal after taking a break in two of the Hawks’ previous three games. This was his second consecutive game against the Stars.
Backup Antti Raanta was in net for a 3-2 win in Calgary and a 5-2 win in Phoenix. In between, Crawford stopped Dallas in a 2-1 shootout victory.
Called up when Nikolai Khabibulin was sidelined by a lower-body injury in mid-November, Raanta has eased the temptation to overuse Crawford by going 2-0 in his first two NHL starts.
‘‘He’s had two good, solid starts,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘He’s fit in real well — good attitude, good approach in the net.’’