Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane took his points streak to 24 games, but not everyone was happy about it.
With Chicago 3-0 down going into the third period against Nashville Predators they needed someone to ignite some offensive. Kane, as is so often the case, delivered.
Blackhawks dumped a puck deep towards Predators netminder Pekka Rinne early in the final session. He appeared to cover up the puck with his glove, but no whistle was blown so play carried on.
Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger charged at Rinne from the right and dislodged the puck in the crease as he made contact with the goaltender. Kane picked up the rebound and slotted it home for his 16th goal and 24th consecutive game with a point.
The Predators challenged the play for interference with the Bridgestone Arena crowd heckling the officials for the lack of a whistle after the initial shot on Rinne.
The goal was ruled good so Kane extended the records for the franchise and American-born NHL players to 24 games.
Rinne strongly disputed the decision, having numerous conversations with officials during breaks in the action. The Predators went on to win 5-1, but Rinne still wasn’t happy after the game.
He said: “I guess it was loose, but for sure, he didn’t make the contact with the puck. He tried to push me in the net.”
Kane will look to extend the record to 25 games on Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets. That would tie Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (2010-11) for the longest streak this century, but would still leave him some way short of the all-time League record set by Wayne Gretzky in 1983-84 at 51 games with the Edmonton Oilers.
Gretzky believes Kane can break his record: “He can get there, absolutely,” he said. “What does it take to get there? It’s a combination of things. First of all, you have to be good and you have to get a little bit lucky.
“I was a little bit lucky during the streak, whether it was a (secondary) assist late in the game or an empty-net point. You have to stay healthy and you have to be surrounded by really good teammates. He has all the intangibles he needs.”
Gretzky also spoke about the team’s importance in making individual records happen – especially when it comes to maintaining a streak over such a large number of games.
“Even though it’s an individual record it becomes a team-oriented record when the players start thinking about it and trying to be part of it. There are going to be scenarios and situations probably when Kane might not have been on the ice in the past and Joel Quenneville is going to give him that opportunity as Glen Sather gave to me. You have to run with it and so far he has.”
“Records are made to be broken. I’m going to watch him and if he breaks the record I’ll be the first guy to shake his hand.”