Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Kane Third Star Of December

By Colin Likas
Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) controls the puck against Ottawa Senators center Zack Smith (15) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) controls the puck against Ottawa Senators center Zack Smith (15) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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Another month, another National Hockey League award for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

The 27-year-old was given the NHL’s Third Star of the Month for December on Monday after earning November’s First Star award. This marks the fourth time in his career Kane has been named an NHL star of the month, with the other three instances occurring last November, December 2013 and November 2013.

It almost feels like Kane’s consecutive games with a point streak was so long ago, since we’ve flipped the calendar to January 2016. But Kane’s streak extending into December was a key reason he received this honor. The run officially ended at 26 straight games when the Blackhawks were shut out by the Colorado Avalanche on December 15. Still, of the Blackhawks’ 15 games in December, Kane failed to tally a point in just three of them — with the Blackhawks being shut out in two of those.

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Kane officially finished the month with nine goals and 10 assists, leading the league for the month with those 19 points. He tallied three points in a trio of games last month — December 3 at Ottawa, December 29 at Arizona and December 31 at Colorado. You might notice all three of those contests are road games, highlighting Kane’s obvious importance to the team’s offensive production so far this season.

For the season, Kane is at a league-best 57 points — five clear of Dallas’ Jamie Benn — and an NHL-high 34 assists — two better than Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. His 23 goals place him in a three-way tie for second in the league, one behind Benn and on level footing with Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko. Kane’s rating of plus-18 is also fourth-best in the league.

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It’s really not too hard to say that, without Kane and goaltender Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks would not be having as much success as they’ve seen so far. They are currently the top team in the league that isn’t leading a division, and their 50 points would tie them for the lead in the Atlantic Division. Here’s an incredible stat to demonstrate Kane’s offensive impact right now: He’s been held pointless in just five of the Blackhawks’ 40 games, and the team has lost all five of them outright. That means the Blackhawks are 23-8-4 when Kane scores at least one point in a game — AKA all 50 of their points have been aided by at least one goal or one helper from Kane. Pretty crazy.

Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau was the NHL’s first star for December, tallying 12 goals and six assists for the month, while Washington goaltender Braden Holtby received the second star after posting a 9-0-1 mark in December, supporting that with a .947 save percentage and 1.69 goals-against average in 11 appearances.

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