Top line hits milestones in victory

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
11:57
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Career and team milestones came fast and furious in the Chicago Blackhawks' 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday at the United Center.

It’s appropriate three of the hottest players in the league -- linemates Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp --were included in the headlines. Most of the damage came in the second period:

Toews: Scored his 30th goal of the season, earning his 70th and 71st points of the year. That’s a career best.

“It’s always nice to see improvement in your play,” Toews said. “It’s about time to start getting on track that way. As a team we’re playing well and personally I think I feel like I’m
doing a lot of right things.”

[+] EnlargePatrick Kane
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesPatrick Kane celebrates the 100th goal of his career with teammate Patrick Sharp on Monday.
Kane: Scored his 100th career goal. He was hoping to accomplish it in Washington on Sunday, where his whole family was in attendance. They watched it on television on Monday.

“It’s pretty special,” Kane said. “It’s nice to get it and nice to get it over with.”

His good friend Toews immediately grabbed the puck so Kane could have it.

“He’s been thinking about it for a couple games and I could see him looking over there a little bit,” Toews said. “So I figured I had to go get it for him.”

Kane only wished he could have reciprocated.

“It was nice of Toews to get it for me,” Kane said. “I told him I was going to get his 100th and then he scored and I forgot. I was happy he got it.”

Kane says he might give the puck to his grandfather.

Sharp: Sharp also set a career high in points, getting to 68 for the first time. He had four assists in the second period, tying a franchise record.

“Four assists in a manner of 15 minutes?” Kane said of his teammate. “That’s pretty crazy coming from him. All four assists were good plays by him not weak assists. Good for him.”

Toews was equally impressed.

“Just a disher tonight, unbelievable,” he said.

And there were plenty of other contributors in the victory.

Niklas Hjalmarsson: Hjalmarsson had what coach Joel Quenneville called a “special game.” He scored just his third goal of the season, registered four shots, blocked three and was plus-3.

“I’ve been playing better here the second half of the season,” Hjalmarsson said. “The pieces are finally getting together here. It took me a while. It’s fun to play right now. It’s looking good between me and Seabrook.”

Hjalmarsson has been nursing a hand injury which has prevented him from practicing. After a slow start, he made a point of contributing by blocking more shots. Now he’s backing off, to stay healthy, but the rest of his game is coming together.

“It’s as hard as I’ve seen him shoot the puck,” Quenneville said. “You can always count on him defensively and when he chips in on offense that’s a bonus.”

Marian Hossa: Hossa scored twice in the second period and has 15 points in his last 11 games.

“It’s a few things,” Hossa said. “No. 1, I’m healthy again. I’m in a tempo and I’m in games. That definitely helps. And the second thing, my right sticks came and it’s nice to see them again.”

Apparently Hossa has not had the “right” sticks. Joel Quennville didn’t want to elaborate on Hossa’s comments but is aware of what he’s talking about. It’s hard to imagine a world class player not having the right sticks but he says it’s helped make a difference.

Final Word

Kane, on chasing Antti Niemi from the game: “We don’t feel bad for him. They had our number this year, so it’s nice to chase him because he’s had success against us.”
Niemi left after giving up four goals on 18 shots in 27:25. He went 3-1 against his former team in the now-completed season series.

Slappers

  • The last time a Blackhawk had four assists in a period was Jim Pappin on March 24, 1973.

  • Kane is the third youngest Hawk to reach 100 goals after Jeremy Roenick and Bobby Hull.

  • Corey Crawford won his 27th game. That’s tops among rookie netminders.

  • The last time the Hawks scored five goals in one period was March 5, 2010 against Vancouver.
  • Jesse Rogers | email

    Chicago Cubs beat reporter
    Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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    TEAM LEADERS

    POINTS
    Patrick Sharp
    PTS GOALS AST +/-
    78 34 44 13
    OTHER LEADERS
    GoalsP. Sharp 34
    AssistsD. Keith 55
    +/-M. Hossa 28
    GAAC. Crawford 2.26