Patrick Kane (via NHL)
Kari Lehtonen stopped 44 shots Thursday night, but there was absolutely no way he was going to stop Patrick Kane’s booming slapshot in the third period. Watch Kane blow the puck past Lehtonen on a seeing-eye snipe.
As good as goaltending has become over the past decade, it’s hard not to feel bad for the netminders at times. Players shoot harder and more accurately than ever, and Thursday Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen was beaten by exactly the type of shot that makes you realize how skilled shooters are these days.
The Stars had gotten out to a big lead in their contest against the Blackhawks, but Chicago was pressuring for the majority of the third period. And with the Stars setting up for a defensive zone faceoff, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville threw Patrick Kane over the boards with Jonathan Toews, essentially loading up both of his top talents on one line. It didn’t take long for the move to work out.
Toews won the faceooff and, within seconds of the puck being dropped, Kane hammered home a slapshot that couldn’t have possibly been more accurate:
Kane’s seeing-eye blast came out of the net almost as fast as it went in.
The goal was Kane’s 33rd of the season and gives him 77 points on the year, which means he’s only 11 points back of his career high 88 points set back in 2009-10. With 24 games remaining in the campaign, it’s hard to imagine a way, barring injury, that Kane doesn’t set a new personal best.
If Kane can keep up his current scoring pace, he’s primed to finish the campaign with 109 points. That would be the highest point total since 2011-12, when Evgeni Malkin won the award with 109 points. Remarkably, it would also mean Kane won the award by scoring 22 more points than the previous year’s winner, Jamie Benn, who scored 87 points to win the Art Ross in 2014-15.