Defying the dreaded Blackhawks Magazine cover jinx, Teuvo Teravainen
scored the winner in Sunday evening’s 3-1 conquest over the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center.
But it was the home team’s insurance goal that brought 21,749 customers to their feet and kept them there. Just as it appeared that Patrick Kane would go pointless, the Blackhawks prodigy arranged Artemi Panarin’s arrow into an empty net at 18:14 of the third period.
Kane, who throws right, swatted the puck with his left glove toward the Russian rocket. No rules were broken. Kane was in his own end, near the boards. No injuries to report either. He didn’t have to ice his shoulder afterward. Rotator cuff, fine.
“An exciting little thing,” noted Kane, who established a franchise record by registering either a goal or assist in his 22nd consecutive game—roughly a quarter of the regular-season schedule. Or to frame it chronologically, when Kane embarked on this run on Oct. 17, the Cubs were opening the NLCS against the New York Mets.
As soon as Panarin buried the puck into a yawning cage, he gestured toward his American pal and linemate. Kane adjourned to the bench and waved to the fans. Upstairs in a suite, Bobby Hull gladly applauded the moment, even if did mean that he holds one fewer entry in the Blackhawks’ litany of landmark occasions.
When Hull was brought back to the family in 2007, he immediately related to Kane, who became a great listener whenever his new friend and mentor came around.
“The stories of his great career, some of them go long,” Patrick said. "At the end, you’re usually laughing. When a legend like Bobby Hull takes an interest in you, it’s special. Tonight wasn’t exactly how you draw it up, and I was probably thinking about (the record) more than I should have. But you take what you can get.”
Hull’s bygone consecutive point binge began just about this juncture in 1971-72, his last season with the Blackhawks. On Dec. 5, he scored twice against the Los Angeles Kings. From then until Jan. 23, "The Golden Jet" rolled up a rousing 23 goals and 12 assists in 21 games. He registered but one hat trick, in Oakland against the California Golden Seals.
“I don’t really remember any of that,” said the Blackhawks’ Hall of Fame ambassador. Considering all the standards he set and all the time that has passed, Hull deserves a pardon. Besides, he would rather talk about Kane.
“Fantastic talent,” Hull gushed. “He comes to play every night, and with all the things he can do, he drives the other team crazy whether he’s got the puck or not. Look at all the attention he gets when he’s just out there without it. Opens up a lot of ice for the rest of the guys because he’s so dangerous and anticipates so well.
“The only player I can compare him with, for skating at such a high speed while still controlling the puck, is Anders Hedberg. He’s the young Swede who I played with in Winnipeg shortly after I left Chicago in 1972. Both of them could go like the wind while keeping the puck like it’s attached to their stick.
“If you’re on Patrick’s line, you better be sharp and alert because he’s got that sixth sense, that imagination. You’re going to receive a pass that you never thought possible. And Patrick’s hands! He makes shots you wouldn’t believe, like that one where he bores in on a goalie and lifts the puck straight up over him and in.”
Wayne Gretzky claims the outrageous NHL record, collecting at least one point in 51 consecutive games with the Edmonton Oilers. He started the hunt in the 1983 season opener and wasn’t stopped until the end of January 1984. His nearest miss occurred in the 44th game at the Stadium. Troy Murray, often cited by "The Great One" as one of his most effective shadows, thought he and his mates had closed Gretzky out.
“We’re losing 4-3 and we pulled our goalie,” recalled Murray, now the analyst on WGN Radio AM-720. “I was trying to pass the puck to Doug Wilson around our blue line. All of a sudden, there’s Gretzky, about 10 feet away. He knocks the puck out of the air, puts his body in front of me to shield it, and puts it in the empty net. Great play. Vintage Wayne.”
At 19:58 of the third period, the streak was alive.