NEW YORK — The Blackhawks’ losing streak is finally over.
The Hawks defeated the Rangers 5-2 on Saturday, snapping their eight-game skid, in an eventful game that included some of everything.
”It was a great win for the team,” Hawks star Patrick Kane said. ”We’ve obviously had leads and given them up. We built on our lead tonight and stuck together as a team through a couple of tough plays.”
Kane notched three points, becoming the 50th player in NHL history to hit the 1,200-point milestone, and beat beloved former linemate Artemi Panarin for the first time since Panarin joined the Rangers in 2019.
The two have managed to keep their bromance alive for five years now. As warmups wound down, Kane shot pucks at Panarin across the red line to interrupt his pregame routine, then outlasted him to be the last player to leave the ice. Kane elected not to rub in the victory after the game, however.
”He’s someone I got really close with when he was here, and it’s always fun to see him,” Kane said. ”I’m happy he’s found a good spot here in New York. Every time you play him, he amazes you with the plays he makes.”
Largely because of his friendship with Panarin, the Rangers have been considered a likely landing spot for Kane if he accepts a trade later this season. A growing rivalry of genuine distaste between the Hawks and Rangers captain Jacob Trouba, however, adds an interesting subplot.
Trouba, who infamously knocked out the Hawks’ Jujhar Khaira with a hit to the head last December, fought Khaira in a charged bout early in the second period, then later took a massive run at Andreas Athanasiou.
Athanasiou was unscathed, but the high hit prompted a line brawl in which 32 penalty minutes were doled out. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews picked up 17 of them — including a misconduct — for rushing in to fight Trouba, which teammate Max Domi later called the ”best part of the game.”
One crucial ingredient to the victory was the Hawks scoring the first goal for the first time since Nov. 10. Reese Johnson gave them that early advantage by tipping in a shot by Jake McCabe less than three minutes in.
Starting goalie Petr Mrazek (21 saves) departed at the second intermission, however, after injuring his groin opposite the side he injured previously this season. Coach Luke Richardson said Mrazek likely would miss some time.