Though Wayne Gretzky's NHL-record point streak is more than twice as long as Patrick Kane's current one, Gretzky said Kane's might be "a little more challenging."
The Chicago Blackhawks forward extended his to 23 games with an empty-net goal on Tuesday, moving him almost halfway to Gretzky's record of 51 games, set with the Edmonton Oilers to start the 1983-84 season.
Gretzky told "Hockey Central" on Wednesday that because of the talent now in the NHL, "What he's going through is maybe a little more challenging than what I had to go through.
"... The goaltenders in general are better today, the defense is better today, the players are bigger and stronger, so what he's doing he should be proud of."
Gretzky has three of the five 30-game point streaks in NHL history. He said he is rooting for Kane to join that list, and more.
"If Patrick can keep this going, good for him. It's great for hockey," Gretzky said. "And if he gets to 50, 51, I'll be the first guy to go to the game."
Gretzky recalled a game during his streak when he needed an empty-net goal with less than 10 seconds left.
"When you have something like that, you gotta get lucky, you gotta stay injury-free, you're gonna have a bad game where you need to get that second assist to keep it going. And then, of course, the empty net," he said.
Kane has two overtime points in his streak. He also had an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 27 seconds remaining in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 27 (Game 18).
His goal Tuesday against the Nashville Predators was scored with 1:36 remaining.
Kane has 14 goals and 23 assists during the streak, which began with an empty-net goal Oct. 17 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Chicago's sixth game of the season.
He is the third NHL player since 1992-93 to have a point streak of at least 22 games, joining Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley (22 games; Oct. 5 to Nov. 29, 2005) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (25 games; Nov. 5 to Dec. 28, 2010).
Gretzky had streaks of 30, 39 and 51 games; Mario Lemieux had a 46-game streak for the Penguins in 1989-90, and Mats Sundin had a 30-game point streak for the Quebec Nordiques in 1992-93.
Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer