Patrick Kane's 1,000th career NHL game wasn't exactly one to remember. The Blackhawks were routed 6-1 by the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on March 9 in their most lopsided loss of the season after coming off a stretch in which they picked up at least one point in 13 of 17 games for a record of 11-4-2.
Finally back in Chicago after a six-game road trip, the Blackhawks honored Kane with a pregame ceremony on Tuesday to celebrate his milestone and it was a much more memorable night. Every player wore No. 88 sweaters during warmups, which was a fitting preview because that number was all over the ice from the moment the puck dropped.
Kane recorded two assists and led all skaters in offensive zone possession time (1:35), controlled exits (16), controlled entries (11) and scoring chances off the rush (two), according to Sportlogiq, in the Blackhawks' 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers to snap a four-game losing streak.
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"Big win for the team," Kane said. "We lost four in a row there, so nice to get rid of that streak. We've been playing alright the past few games. We did a good job of coming out strong and took over the game to get it to 3-0. ]
"Obviously like to kill the game a little bit more, but nice to hang around against a team that's pretty good at coming back in games and puts a lot of pressure on you. Nice to get the win tonight and hopefully this can give us some momentum, especially with a lot of home games coming up."
Kane also surpassed Keith Tkachuk for fourth all-time among American-born players with 1,066 points. Only Mike Modano (1,374), Phil Housley (1,232) and Jeremy Roenick (1,216) have more, and it's difficult not to see Kane climb to No. 1 on the list when his career is all said and done.
One of the highlights of the evening was Kane sharing the moment with his family, who missed his 400th career NHL goal and 1,000th career game because of the COVID-19 pandemic and 1,000th career point because of weather issues last season. His girlfriend Amanda and newborn son Patrick Kane III were also in attendance.
And, fittingly, so was Joel Quenneville, who watched the entire ceremony from the Florida Panthers bench by himself.
"It speaks volumes of how classy of a guy he is," Kane said. "Just nice skating back to the bench to see him and sharing that moment with him for one second but obviously pretty classy move, especially with the opposing team not allowed out there. To see his face and just see him on the bench for the ceremony speaks volumes to the class he has and obviously the great memories and times we've had together."
More importantly, it was a big win for Kane and the Blackhawks as they prepare to play eight of the nine games at the United Center and get ready for the stretch run. And you better believe the Blackhawks are paying attention to the playoff push.
"Of course we're watching it right now," Kane said. "Now we have 23 games left in the season, so of course you're watching to see what's going on. I think the best thing we can do is play like we did tonight and control our own destiny and keep winning games and we should be fine."