Kane, Toews find their scoring punch in early in the Blackhawks’ season
CHICAGO – When all is said and done for this Blackhawks’ run, two athletes will stand out above the rest.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were the original two major players on the team when they first showed signs of a resurgence during the 2007-2008 season. Players like Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp would emerge as time went along, but it was always No. 19 & No. 88 who were at the forefront of the Blackhawks’ dynasty.
It’s fitting that after the group’s first playoff miss in a decade, it’s the combination of Kane and Toews that’s given the team a boost in the early part of the 2018-2019 season.
So far Toews has five goals in the early going – including a hat trick and the game-winner against the Blues last Saturday – while Kane currently has four scores. The captain is third in the league in goals with the right wing right behind him in a tie for fourth, and each are a big reason why the Blackhawks got five out of a possible six points in their first three games.
“It’s one of those things where pucks are going in and we’re creating a lot of chances with Dominik (Kahun) and Alex (DeBrincat), and it’s fun just to play with the puck,” said Toews of the hot start for himself and the team. “You go out there expecting to get results and expecting to get on the board three or four times every night. But as long as you’re creating a high percentage of and high amount of chances, eventually you are going to have those nights.”
Kane certainly did on Sunday in a memorable home opener against the Maple Leafs – and did so just in the nick of time for his team. Kane scored a pair of goals in the final 1:24 of the contest. His four goals sit just one behind Toews for the team lead, while the captain trails Toronto’s Auston Matthews (7) and John Tavares (6) for the NHL’s scoring advantage so far.
This week Kane mentioned that tandem specifically when talking about his own run with Toews in the early going of the 2018-2019 campaign.
“You look at what’s even happening in Toronto with Tavares and Matthews, it’s the same type of thing. One guy produces, the other guys wants to do something and help out the team as well,” said Kane. “There always has been a healthy internal competition with us. It was probably more of a competition when we were younger. But now we know how good it is with the team if we’re both producing, both going.
“So if one line is doing something you want to be able to go out there and do something too. Hopefully we keep that pushback going the entire year.”
Certainly, Joel Quenneville and their Blackhawks’ teammates would appreciate it. When the Kane and Toews are near the top of the scoring charts, as they were earlier in this decade, the franchise enjoyed enormous success.
“With those guys leading the way, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Brandon Saad of the success of the duo. “It kinda takes the pressure off, but at the same time, once we get everybody contributing, we’re gonna be a tough team to beat.”
Just like they have been for the better part of the last decade, with two familiar faces leading the way.