Patrick Kane sets scoring mark as Chicago Blackhawks top Buffalo Sabres

By Mark Ludwiczak, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 20, 2017 at 2:40 AM
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Patrick Kane enjoyed another successful homecoming on Sunday night and reached yet another milestone in the process.

The Buffalo product had a goal and an assist to help lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Kane reached 20 goals on the season, making him the first American-born player to ever score 20 or more goals in each of his first 10 seasons, according to STATS, LLC.

"I think it's a pretty cool number," Kane said. "It's always nice to reach those milestones. Hopefully a few more to come."

Ryan Hartman, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Artem Anisimov also scored for the Blackhawks, who dominated the Sabres from start to finish. Scott Darling made 25 saves.

"That's what you like to see," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had real good consistency. I thought that we progressed. Had a decent start, slowed down, had an ordinary start to the second (period), but after that last half, we played extremely well and all the lines were doing the right things."

Kane has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 13 career games against the Sabres. Chicago (36-18-5) increased its winning streak against Buffalo to 11 games.

Evander Kane scored for the Sabres, who had a three-game win streak come to an end. Robin Lehner made 32 saves.

"Against a team like that, you've got to attack them, you've got to go after them, and we did too much sitting back, playing in our own zone," Buffalo center Jack Eichel said. "We didn't play aggressive enough, gave them too much room, and the puck ended up in our net."

With the loss, Buffalo (26-24-10) remains just out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card position. However, the Sabres have made up plenty of ground in recent games and head into their bye week with a sense of optimism despite the loss.

"We'll forget about this one. It's unfortunate," Lehner said. "You know what, we've been playing good hockey, and we can't get away from ourselves here for one game. After the break, it starts again. We've got to string games together, and I think we're going to do that, I think we have the ability to do that and get back in the race."

Hartman opened the scoring with 6:26 remaining in the first period following a flurry of pressure by the Blackhawks to open the game.

Hartman swooped into the right circle before placing a high wrist shot into the net for his 14th goal of the season.

Evander Kane evened the score with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period. Eichel set up the play with a backhand pass from behind the net, and Evander Kane buried a hard shot in off the crossbar for his seventh goal in his past seven games.

Hossa restored Chicago's lead midway through the second period, and it was all Chicago from there. The veteran cut inside from the right circle and beat Lehner through the goalie's legs for his 21st goal of the season.

Toews made it 3-1 with 3:43 remaining in the second. Toews grabbed hold of a rebound in front of the Sabres net, beating Eichel for the puck, and tucked a backhand shot in for his 12th goal of the season at 9:40.

Anisimov made it 4-1 3:29 into the third period by redirecting a hard pass from Patrick Kane into the net for his 21st goal of the season.

Patrick Kane made it 5-1 three minutes later on a highlight-reel goal of his own. He deftly stickhandled around Lehner, tucking a backhand shot inside the post for his 20th goal of the season.

"Our line didn't play very well in the first two periods," Patrick Kane said. "But as far as the other lines there, they were really rolling. You can think of numerous chances and a number of great plays from those three lines. They really sustained the pressure and got us the lead, and we kind of finished it off."

NOTES: C Sam Reinhart and D Justin Falk were scratched for the Sabres. Reinhart missed his second game in a row due to illness. ... LW Andrew Desjardins, RW Jordin Tootoo and D Michal Rozsival were scratched for the Blackhawks. ... This was the Sabres' sixth contest in a string of eight consecutive home games against Western Conference opponents. ... Buffalo concluded its 11th of a league-most 19 sets of back-to-back games this season. ... This was the second of two meetings between the two teams this season. The Blackhawks won the first matchup, 4-3 in overtime in Chicago on Jan. 5.

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