DETROIT (AP) - Patrick Kane is having his best season statistically in part because he’s never been better on the power play.
Kane had a goal and an assist 1:24 apart on power plays in the second period, helping the Chicago Blackhawks rout the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Wednesday night.
He set up Artemi Panarin for a goal in the third period for the second time in the game. That extended his NHL-leading point total to 88 - his jersey number - and matched his career high set during the 2009-10 season.
“It’s good, it’s nice,” Kane said. “Having fun playing hockey, that’s for sure.”
Kane has 15 goals on power plays and a league-leading 32 points with a man advantage, setting career highs in each category with nearly 20 games remaining in the regular season.
Jonathan Toews has been Kane’s teammate for each of their nine seasons in the league and said consistency is what has allowed him to take his production to another level.
“Everyone has moments when they’re not playing with absolute control and firing on all cylinders, but he still finds ways to contribute offensively,” Toews said. “I think that’s the biggest sign of a star player when you can do it on your off night, too. That shows how much focus and skill he really has this year.”
Andrew Ladd restored the three-goal lead in the third period in his second game back with the Blackhawks. Panarin scored his second goal 35 seconds later from the top of the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Kane.
Corey Crawford didn’t give up a goal until midway through the third period when Brad Richards scored and Gustav Nyquist had a relatively meaningless goal late in the game.
Petr Mrazek stopped 28 shots for the Red Wings, who had won three straight.
The Western Conference-leading Blackhawks were coming off a win against NHL-leading Washington.
And, they looked sharp from the start at Detroit and didn’t let up.
Brent Seabrook scored from the top of the right circle, trailing on a play that started with an odd-man rush. Erik Gustafsson tapped his stick on the ice to get the puck passed back from Teuvo Teravainen and Gustafsson set up Seabrook, a fellow defenseman, for the game’s first goal.
“It went through my glove,” Mrazek said. “That is probably the one that I would want back.”
Kane made an across-the-crease pass to assist to Panarin from the bottom of the right circle to the bottom of the left while Toews provided a distraction in front of the net.
“He pretty much creates the whole play,” Kane said of Toews. “Gets position on that guy, blocks him out without taking an interference penalty and being able to create a seam there for me to pass it across.”
Kane, a four-time All-Star, got into open space a little more than a minute later and flicked a wrist shot from the inside of the left circle that Mrazek simply couldn’t stop.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, has been for a long time,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of being tight to him. We’ve got to do a better job of not giving him as much space. It’s not an easy thing to do. He’s great at creating space, but you have to limit his opportunities.”
NOTES: The Blackhawks had nine players and Detroit had seven named to World Cup of Hockey rosters Wednesday. … Christian Ehrhoff played in his first game for Chicago since it acquired the defenseman last week from the Los Angeles Kings for Rob Scuderi. … Mrazek played after sitting out the previous game, an overtime win at Dallas, with a groin injury. … Panarin leads NHL rookies with 24 goals and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin is second with 19. … Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg became the 11th player in franchise history to play in 900 games.
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