In return to United Center, Kane scores game-winner as fans roar for former Blackhawks great

With some of the biggest stars from every walk of life sparkling throughout the United Center on Sunday, it only made sense that a three-time Stanley Cup champion known as Showtime would shine brightest in the end.

Saving his best for last, Patrick Kane closed out a night nobody will soon forget by scoring on a breakaway to give Detroit a 3-2 overtime victory over the Blackhawks.

Kane accepted a pass from Alex DeBrincat, skated in on Petr Mrazek and roofed a shot that just sneaked in underneath the crossbar. Kane then skated to the glass and implored the crowd to roar its approval.

They did not disappoint, and it put a bow on a helluva day.

Patrick Kane shoots the puck past Petr Mrazek to lift Detroit to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday. AP

“A lot of emotions right now: Scoring that goal, being back here, being on a different team,” Kane said. “Just tried to show the fans there at the end they’ll always have my heart here.”

The feeling was clearly mutual, with the fans unleashing thunderous applause after a stirring first-period tribute video.

Kane came to center ice not once, not twice, but three times. The decibel level on his last trip out might have equaled moments from the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

“Just so special,” Kane said. “You don’t expect anything less from the Blackhawks with the tribute. Didn’t know if I did enough laps or too many laps. The guys kept telling me to go for another one, go for another one. Some of them wanted to see four.”

DeBrincat, whose third-period goal tied the game at 2-2, actually had another idea.

“It was awesome to see them get fired up every time he went back out there,” he said. “I told him to take a whole lap around the rink. I don't think he wanted to do that, but he might as well have if he did three (mini) laps.”

Kane had to know this night would be different as soon as he was greeted by a smiling Brent Seabrook near the visiting locker room. After laughing and giving his old teammate a hug, Kane walked on and was greeted by Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith.

The group chatted for a couple of minutes, then Kane turned around and made the unfamiliar walk away from the home dressing room.

“Those are my guys,” said Kane, who is now riding an eight-game point streak. “Seabs, Sharpie, Dunc, Hoss. Those were some of my best friends for a long time. I spent a lot of time with those guys, a lot of fun memories. Pretty special to see (them).”

Some of the other stars in attendance included Wayne Gretzky, Dennis Rodman, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, supermodel Cindy Crawford and tennis legend John McEnroe. Many were on hand to witness Chris Chelios' No. 7 go into the rafters.

That was an impressive opening act, with Chelios giving a stick tap to Kane a few moments after acknowledging Hossa, Sharp, Seabrook and Keith.

“Thought he forgot about me when he went to the four guys,” Kane said, smiling. “No, I don’t think you expect anything less from him, too. He’s a classy guy. He’s been a great friend to me for a long time.”

Eventually No. 88 will hang in the rafters too. Not that Kane, who has helped lead Detroit (32-20-6) on a five-game winning streak, is thinking of any of that right now.

“Not really,” he said. “Hopefully, I can play for a long time and do some special things – the second act of my career.

“It’s gonna be hard to not always be a Blackhawk, right? Just the memories and the emotions and some of the things we created here was really special.”

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