LOS ANGELES – Patrick Kane pointed skyward after scoring his 26th goal of the season, a salute to his grandfather, Donald, who passed away earlier in the day. On one of his toughest personal days, Kane collected himself to play a great game in memory of one of his “great friends.”
Kane scored two goals and an assist and Corey Crawford stopped 31-of-34 shots as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 at Staples Center on Monday night. It was an understandably emotional outing for Kane, who said he found out right before the game that his grandfather died.
Afterward, those emotions were evident.
[HIGHLIGHTS: Blackhawks, Kane score early and often in win over Kings]
“It was just a tough day overall. He was one of my great friends growing up. It’s just a really sad day,” said Kane, who was in tears. “It was important to get the win. But anytime you get someone taken away from you who’s so close to you, it means so much. It was tough to hear that right before the game.”
Bryan Bickell, back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch three of the last four contests, scored his first goal since Jan. 17. Nick Leddy had a goal and an assist; Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each had two assists for the Blackhawks, who are now 2-0-2 on this current road trip.
Whether he suppressed the emotions during the game or let them fuel him, Kane was stellar. His power-play goal gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead just 62 seconds into the game and he fed Bickell on a 3-on-1 to go up 2-0 in the first. Coach Joel Quenneville, who didn’t get the news until the second intermission, said Kane had a “special game.”
“He’s a proud guy and his grandfather meant a lot to him. It was probably a very emotional night for him,” Quenneville said. “He played an unbelievable game. He had the puck, scored a couple (of goals) but he did so many other things. I’m sure he’s excited for what he did for (his grandfather).”
Hossa said, “it’s always tough to lose someone close. But (Kane) did what he could, played his best game and it was a big night for him.”
For the Blackhawks, the victory was a welcome one. After struggling to get one goal against the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks’ offense came alive against the Kings. But the Kings, who had just three goals combined in their previous six games, weren’t going quietly. Drew Doughty laced one past Crawford to cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1 midway in the first, and Anze Kopitar scored his 17th of the season to tie it early in the third.
Despite being outplayed most of the second period – and if the Kings hadn’t hit three posts, it would’ve been worse – the Blackhawks entered the second intermission with the lead. Marcus Kruger redirected Leddy’s shot to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 after two.
Leddy’s long-distance shot gave the Blackhawks a 4-2 edge seven minutes into the third before Kane added his second, off a feed from Sharp.
The tears Kane cried late Monday night were for his grandfather, his “great friend.” His performance in the previous 60 minutes was a great tribute to him.
“You think about it a couple times when you’re on the bench but overall I was just trying to focus on the game, play well for him, I guess,” Kane said. “He’s a guy I grew up with and he lived next door to me my whole childhood. We’d play cards, hang out by the pool in the summer. He came to a lot of my hockey games, but he was more worried about grades and me being a good kid. It’s a tough day, for sure.”