CHICAGO -- It didn't happen with a no-look pass or precision shot, but Patrick Kane's assist after his hand pass from the defensive zone still helped him break Bobby Hull's 44-year old Chicago Blackhawks point streak record at United Center on Sunday.
After swatting the puck out of mid-air to rookie left wing Artemi Panarin, Kane watched the skilled Russian pull the puck around Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers and shoot it into an empty net from the neutral zone to seal the Blackhawks' 3-1 win.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Kane streak among all-time best
By Rob Vollman - NHL.com Correspondent
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is in elite company when it comes to stringing together points. READ MORE ›
Kane's assist extended his point streak to 22 games, which broke Hull's mark of 21 straight established Dec. 5 to Jan. 23 during the 1971-72 season.
"It's not your usual point, I guess, but I think the exciting part was just how into it the crowd was when the announcement was made [about the record], and hearing how excited they were," Kane said. "[Hull] obviously had a tremendous career and scored a lot of goals. Anytime you can put your name with Bobby Hull or Denis Savard or Eddie Olczyk, you've got to be doing something right."
Kane has 13 goals and 23 assists during the streak, which began with an empty-net goal Oct. 17 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the sixth game of the season.
Edmonton Oilers forward Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record with a 51-game streak (1983-84 season). Gretzky had 61 goals and 92 assists during his streak.
Watching from a United Center suite, Hull smiled and cheered Kane's latest accomplishment. Prior to the game, Hull said he hopes the streak has a lot more life.
"I just hope he breaks the record and then goes on and chases Gretzky," Hull said. "It's only 30 (more games). It's not a big deal. He can get 30 more, I'm sure."
Hull said scoring streaks weren't celebrated quite as much when he played.
"When I was fortunate enough to be playing, I didn't know that that was a record back then," he said. "I had no idea. And then when they started talking about it [recently], I thought, 'That sounds like maybe I could have done that.'"
Kane is the fourth NHL player since 1992-93 to have a point streak of at least 21 games, joining Boston Bruins center Adam Oates (21 games; March 4 to April 14, 1993), 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), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
It was starting to look like the streak would end against the Jets, who did a good job of taking away Kane's time and space when he got the puck. It almost worked, despite the Blackhawks openly trying to help Kane get a point most of the game with extra passes to him.
Teuvo Teravainen's goal to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 in the first minute of the third period eventually did the trick. Chicago made the lead stand up long enough for the Jets to pull goalie Michael Hutchinson with two minutes left in the period, which led to Kane swatting the puck to Panarin for the empty-net goal.
"It kept everybody interested the whole game," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who was overheard calling for passes to Kane from the bench. "Tonight was probably the first game where [the streak] was noticeable. I think everybody on our team was rooting for him and going out of their way a little bit more [than] what we generally try to do [to] make sure he had a touch before we attempted a play at the net. But it's been a remarkable stretch for him. He made some unbelievable plays prior to that, to get on the board, and I'm happy for him to sustain it and achieve it. It's an amazing stretch to the start of a season."
Kane's first-period goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 28 gave him the record for most consecutive games with a point by an American-born player at 19. That goal broke a tie with Olczyk (Toronto Maple Leafs, 1989-90) and Phil Kessel (Boston Bruins, 2008-09).
Kane's streak almost ended at 17 games on Nov. 27 against the Anaheim Ducks, but he had an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 27 seconds remaining in the third period of a 3-2 overtime win.
This one didn't come quite as close to ending the run, but the thought still entered Kane's mind.
"I think it's one of those things," he said. "You try not to think about it too much, but if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. I'm trying not to think about that stuff and just doing the right things on the ice, playing the right way. We got a goal there to seal it, so that felt good too."
The fact it was created by his hand pass didn't really matter to him. In fact, it made him smile about it afterward.
"You can look back at some of my memorable moments and it seems like they're all a little bit different," Kane said. "But that's the way it was meant to be, I guess. [Could] you predict that it was going to be, like, a hand pass in your own end and then [scored] into an empty net? Probably not, but I guess at that point, you'll take them any way you can get them."
Kane will try to push the streak to 23 games when the Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators at United Center on Tuesday.