Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has plenty of reasons to be happy heading into Saturday night’s game against the host Buffalo Sabres.
For starters, Saturday’s contest represents a homecoming for Kane, and the Buffalo native has fared well in his decorated career versus the hometown Sabres. Kane has totaled 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 20 career games against Buffalo.
Kane also enters the encounter with seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last three contests overall. The former Hart Trophy recipient collected a goal and two assists on Thursday. However, Chicago saw its four-game winning streak come to a halt with a wild 6-5 setback to the Edmonton Oilers.
Despite the loss, Kane insisted that the rebuilding Blackhawks are heading in the right direction.
“Very happy with the team,” Kane said. “I feel like with this group, (we’re) competitive every night and we have confidence that we’re going to win. That’s a team (the Oilers) that got better over the summer and they went to a conference final last year, so I think we should feel good about where we’re at because I feel like we can play better too.”
Should Kane suit up for his 1,115th career game on Saturday, he’ll snap a tie with defenseman Brent Seabrook for the third-most games played for the franchise. Hall of Famer Stan Mikita (1,396) and blueliner Duncan Keith (1,192) reside atop the list.
Like Kane, Max Domi recorded a goal and two assists on Thursday.
And like Kane, Domi tried to see the positive coming out of the loss.
“That’s just kind of how hockey works: It’s the greatest game in the world, but it can (stink) sometimes for sure,” Domi said. “I think we could’ve won that game, and that should build confidence in this group knowing that we can change a few things and close that game out (in the future).”
Domi shares the team lead in goals (four) with captain Jonathan Toews, while Kane has top honors in both assists (six) and points (eight).
The upstart Sabres began the season with four wins in their first five games before dropping back-to-back contests.
Dylan Cozens scored his third goal in four games and Jeff Skinner added his first of the season in Buffalo’s 3-2 setback to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
“We got lot of shots, but we need more bodies around the net to get those rebounds and get those greasy goals,” Cozens said. “Not every goal’s going to be pretty. So I think that was something we need to work on, for sure.”
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin saw his six-game point streak (five goals, four assists) come to a halt.
Dahlin was paired with fellow first overall draft pick Owen Power due to injuries along the blue line for the Sabres. Dahlin was the top pick in the 2018 draft, while Power was the first selection three years later.
Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson is expected to be sidelined a few weeks with a knee injury sustained in Buffalo’s 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Fellow blueliner Henri Jokiharju is deemed week-to-week with a facial fracture after taking a puck to the face in a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Oct. 20.
–Field Level Media