SUNRISE, Fla. -- There is no greater compliment than one that comes from a peer. So when Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa got a text from former 18-year NHL veteran Bobby Holik, it gave him a smile.
“I just got a text message from Bobby Holik and he said Patrick Kane is the best street hockey player on skates, so I start laughing,” Hossa said after the Hawks 3-2 shootout win over Florida Thursday. “He’s just so easy, going through people and making fakes and he makes a great play and he’s just having fun and it’s great to see.”
It started with Holik complimenting Kane and ended with a current world class player doing the same. Kane has been that good and he was again Thursday, setting up Hossa for a goal and then winning the game with the lone tally in the shootout.
“I don’t think we played the way we wanted to but a lot of good things happened,” Kane said. “We found a way to get two points. Nice way to start the dads’ trip. Nice to get a win for them.”
Kane’s dad must be beaming. His son’s late-in-shift pass to Hossa was-- as usual--on the money for the Hawks' second goal and his shootout winner came after watching Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland miss on Panthers’ goalie Jacob Markstrom.
“Johnny went down, threw a fake and I saw his five-hole open up,” Kane explained. “Bolly and I talked about it. I think he tried to go five-hole too. I just tried to sell the fake and get him to open his legs because he’s a big goaltender. Luckily enough it went in.”
There doesn’t seem to be much luck involved in Kane’s game these days. It's mostly about skill and he has a ton of it.
“I tried to go hard as I could,” Hossa said of his goal. “Good patience by Kane to make the play there.”
Patience with the puck is Kane’s trademark. He waits and waits and waits some more until the right moment comes.
“He has the puck a lot right now,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s dangerous and a threat. Nice move as well. Nice finish.”
Yes it was.
• Sean O’Donnell filled in for Duncan Keith playing a season high 21:06. He started the scoring sequence on the Hawks' first goal but was on the ice for the tying one by the Panthers.
“I ended up getting three days off in four days so I came in and felt good,” O’Donnell said of being a healthy scratch. “With Dunc down they’re going to ask different guys to step up and do different things. I wish we could have had that second goal back but other than that I thought it was a good night and good two points for us.”
• Hossa scored his sixth goal of the season and has the fourth-most points against the Panthers of any opponent in their career. “It could be the air here,” Hossa joked of his success. “Whatever it is too bad we don’t play more games here.”
• Joel Quenneville wouldn’t commit to Keith sitting out or playing in Friday’s game against Tampa Bay. Keith missed his first game in over two seasons after leaving Monday’s contest against Nashville with a hand injury.
• Quenneville said back-up netminder Ray Emery could play Friday. Previously the Hawks coach intimated that since Emery’s dad was on the road trip he could play against the Lightning.