Snakebit Kane can't believe Niemi's save

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Snakebit Kane can't believe Niemi's save

Patrick Kane just looked to the heavens with a big grin on his face. It was more of a got-to-be-kidding-me grin than a happy one, as Kane was stymied on a tremendous scoring chance by a more tremendous stop by Antti Niemi.

I dont know if I wanted to smile or cry, said Kane, who has just one goal in his last 13 games. That was a nice one.

Kane is working through his scoring drought frustrations but certainly didnt go down without a fight in the Blackhawks 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.

The Blackhawks right wing was part of a successful top-line trio on Sunday night, and he came away with an assist in the teams 4-3 victory over San Jose.

Kane was playing a more patient game on Sunday. And while it didnt pay off in goal production he was happy with what he and fellow top liners Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg did.

Its fun playing with those two, fun playing with patience. Thats when Im at my best, Kane said. I just try to make plays and goals and points will come, hopefully. I can look at tonight and say I couldve had four or five points in the first period. Its a little frustrating but at the same time were playing good as a line so Ill take it for what it is.

Kane will get his scoring touch back. If anyone but Niemis in goal, he probably gets one or two Sunday night. But hes happy with the patient side of his game, and hell keep plugging away.

I just want to hold onto the puck a little more instead of trying to get rid of it and trying to go to the net. Just different things, he said.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

There are a lot of similarities between the Blackhawks and the New York Rangers. Both have a nice record to start this season and both are getting through recent injuries as best they can.

And thanks to their goaltending, they had a pretty fun little battle on Friday night.

Antti Raanta edged Scott Darling as the Rangers took a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday. It was surprising that Raanta got the start, only because he had started for the Rangers on Thursday against Winnipeg. But he’s been hot, he’s good at the United Center in his career and obviously it was the right decision.

The Blackhawks are back at it on Sunday against another team going through its injury issues, the Dallas Stars. Before then, however, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ overtime loss to the Rangers.

1. A familiar goalie duel. Two seasons ago Scott Darling and Antti Raanta were fighting for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending spot. So it seemed fitting that they face each other on Friday night. They didn’t disappoint. Each goaltender had his share of stellar stops, many coming in the second period as each team looked for an edge. Raanta got the victory, running his record at the United Center to 15-0-3. The two had a quick, good-natured talk at the end of the game. “It was all friendly,” Darling said. “We were just saying, ‘good job’ and we’re happy for one another.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

2. Kane alright. Patrick Kane got the concussion protocol call in the second period a few moments after he was hit into the glass by Nick Holden. After Kane was called for high-sticking he was sent to the locker room, returning as the Blackhawks went on their first power play of the night at 17:28 of the second period.

3. The Rangers’ successful challenge. Just when you thought the Blackhawks were taking a 1-0 lead the third period (Marian Hossa), the Rangers challenged for offside. They won, nullifying Hossa’s attempt at his 15th goal of the season. Hossa was disappointed, and is frustrated at how some of the rule changes are taking away goals when the league is trying to increase scoring. Coach Joel Quenneville, when asked if he’d like the rule changed if he could, laughed. “Right now? Sure.”

4. A better all-around game. We may be harping on the Blackhawks’ injury situation but when you’re missing three key guys (Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford) it’s going to alter your game. But the Blackhawks played a strong all-around game against the Rangers and had some good scoring chances. All things considered, and against a very good Rangers team, Quenneville liked what he saw. “We know they’re a dangerous team off the rush, a lot of guys can make plays, a ton of speed. You have to respect that in ways and they check well in their own end,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did some good things. I think on the rush game we did a good job of taking away that danger.”

5. When will the Blackhawks return to health? Yeah, we’re looking ahead a little bit on this one, and we may have a clearer picture by Saturday morning. If Toews and Seabrook are skating and come out of the session well, there’s a chance they could play on Sunday. The Blackhawks have done alright despite the injuries. But you have to wonder when they start feeling a bit depleted.