The Blackhawks began their two week road-trip with a victory Wednesday night, overcoming the Mighty Disney Anaheim Ducks of Anaheim by a score of 3-2. The Blackhawks needed the boost after going 6-6 in the lackluster month of January, including a drubbing by the rival Red Wings at the Winter Classic.
Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin proved the difference maker against the Ducks, stopping an avalanche of 36 shots while allowing only two. Patrick Kane scored his 17th goal of the season, showing signs of breaking out of the scoring slump that has plagued the young forward of late, including an embarrassing miscue in the NHL All-Star Game last Sunday.
“Kaner got a little overwhelmed at the All-Star Game,” said fellow All-Star Brian Campbell. “He got this amazing pass from Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks and he was standing alone in front of the net. The goalie wasn’t even in the crease. But Kaner just kinda stood there and finally just skated away. It was weird.”
But Kane may have reached a turning point late in that game, feeding teammate Jonathan Toews for a third period goal, and then scoring the go-ahead goal himself on a breakaway.
“That was definitely a moment of truth for me,” said Kane. “I had a decision to make: do I really want to play hockey any more. On the balance I decided it was a good idea. So I finished out the period. It worked out pretty well I think.”