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THREE THINGS: Decade's Best, Out of the Gate and Gritty Area

Three takeaways from Chicago's 5-3 win in Calgary on New Year's Eve

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks dominated for much of their final game of the year, getting out to a big lead before things got interesting at the end, but regardless pulled out their third straight win, 5-3 over the Flames in Calgary. 

Here are three takeaways from the win:


DECADE'S BEST

Already with the decade lead in scoring, Kane padded his stats and eclipsed the 800-point mark with a goal and two assists in the final game of 2019. 

"I thought my linemates were great," Kane said, quickly deflecting any individual accolade to his team as a whole. "I thought (Ryan) Carpenter and (Dylan) Sikura had great games. Those guys were working so hard on the puck, on the backcheck, on the forecheck, creating turnovers, getting to the net, giving me the puck with time and space and I thought both those guys were great, so looking forward to building on that."

"He was good and certainly a big part of the start we got off to, made a lot of plays. I thought Sikura was really good, that line was excellent for a lot of the game, so nice to see."

Kane, named to his ninth All-Star Game on Monday, finished the 2010s with 802 points (315G, 487A) in 742 games, 13 more than the decade's second-highest scorer, Sidney Crosby. 

"I think you've got to play on good teams, you've got to play with good players, you've obviously got to be healthy, got to be consistent and it's been a fun 10 years. Looking forward to see what the next decade brings here. 

With an empty-netter with half a second left in the game, Kane added one more accolade to his decade: taking over fourth all-time in franchise history with his 388th goal as a Blackhawk. He tied Denis Savard's 387 with his first goal of the game and took sole possession with the last goal of year.

"He had an unbelievable career in Chicago," Kane said. "Obviously he was my first coach, he's been a great friend and mentor since the day I got here in Chicago and unbelievable person and obviously was an unbelievable player ... humbled and honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Denis."

Video: Kane, Lehner, DeBrincat & Colliton on win over Flames


OUT OF THE GATE

In three of their last four games heading into New Year's Eve, Chicago found themselves chasing the game early and, in each of the last two road games, needing to overcome multi-goal deficits in the final period. 

No such feat was needed with an offensive explosion in the opening 20 and a 3-0 lead heading into the room at the first break, one they made 4-0 midway through the game before allowing the Flames to make it interesting late. 

"We've had some great starts. I look at the game tonight, I look at the game in Winnipeg, we came out flying, short shifts, everyone getting into the game, capitalizing on our chances and that's a recipe to win on the road," Kane said. "Obviously we'd love to do it for 60 minutes, but it's a tough league to play that way in. There's so much parity and there's so much offensive skill, you know the other team's going to have a push, but great start tonight."

"I think we had one of our best 50 minutes of the game, I think," Robin Lehner said. "They took over and had quite a bit. I think we gave them three goals today, small details … but, you know, we won. We stuck with it again, that's kind of the team right now, we're building (and) getting better and better. We're not perfect, so we've got some more stuff to learn here but a hell of a win."

Video: Kane leads Blackhawks to 5-3 win vs. Flames


GRITTY AREA

Lehner had another standout performance with big save after big save throughout the game, especially on shots from any amount of distance. All three goals the Blackhawks allowed, though, came from within a few feet of the goal mouth off of scrambles.

"The first one, we win the faceoff in the defensive zone and we don't get out. Ultimately we didn't sort the net front and second one we put on their tape and they score and then the third one, we got outnumbered at the net 5-on-6," Colliton said. "All things we can correct. Overall, I thought we had it under control (until) they score and it's 4-2 and then there was going to be a push, it was inevitable. It doesn't change the fact we like how we played early on and we'll take that with us."

"They were all easy plays to clean up. Small mistakes," Lehner added. "The first one, we've just got to get the puck out with 15 seconds left. Third one, they're a good team, they attacked the net, but I think they had a shot and two rebounds or something before they put it in, so we've just got to together get there, but we worked hard, we really did. It was small details and it's another win. We've got to keep climbing."

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