CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith blocked a shot Friday and sent the puck toward the side wall at United Center.
Time was running out on the New Jersey Devils, who frantically pushed for a game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Devils net was empty at the other end, and the situation called for a two-way player like Marian Hossa or Jonathan Toews to make a stand defensively.
Instead, it was Patrick Kane who made the big play near the corner in the Blackhawks zone. The high-scoring right wing swiped the puck just before Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas could send it behind the net with 52 seconds left and started a play that led to an empty-net goal.
The assist was Kane's 63rd point, which pushed his lead in the NHL scoring race to three after the games Friday, but it was also an example of his growth as a player. It wasn't too long ago when Kane would routinely hang out in the neutral zone, circling and waiting for stretch passes instead of backchecking to retrieve pucks in the defensive zone. It's not that way anymore.