Blackhawks back on winning track after 4-3 OT victory
A wry smile came across Patrick Kane's face in the postgame dressing room when the superstar winger was asked if it ever gets old beating up on his hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres.
"Yeah, yeah, it's great," said Kane, who scored 56 seconds into overtime as the Blackhawks escaped with a 4-3 victory at the United Center on Thursday. "I mean, that was my childhood, right? Growing up going to Sabres games.
"Sometimes you sit back and think it's surreal that you're actually playing against them."
The nearly 22,000 fans were having a surreal experience most of the night as the Hawks fell behind three different times to the worst team in the Eastern Conference despite outshooting them 29-13 in the first 41:10.
The Hawks never caved, though, getting goals from Ryan Hartman at 16:20 of the first period and 2 from Artem Anisimov, the second of which tied the game 3-3 with just 2:04 remaining. Anisimov swept in a rebound after Kane wheeled through the offensive zone and flipped a backhanded shot on net.
Despite his team-leading 18 goals, the 6-foot-4, 198-pound Anisimov might be the most unappreciated player on the Hawks.
"He's just a great hockey player," Kane said. "He does everything right, plays both ends of the ice. I think people probably don't see it a lot, but he's so skilled. And you know when he gets those chances in front, he's not going to miss them too often."
Kane won it when he swooped in and banged home a rebound of a Jonathan Toews shot.
Last year's MVP had a 3-point night, which gives him 40 on the season.
Marian Hossa returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury and looked solid. The veteran had a good look just a minute into the game, and he finished with 5 shots (2 on goal) in 15:23 of ice time.
"He showed some good pace and speed, and the puck was following him around," said coach Joel Quenneville.
The Hawks have now won 10 straight over the Sabres and improved to 24-12-5 overall.
They had been 1-4-1 in their previous six games and were staring at yet another loss until Anisimov came to the rescue.
"That could be huge win for us here, especially when you look (we're) at halfway point of the season," Kane said. "You lose that one, maybe you start losing a little confidence.
"But huge win, couple huge goals there by Anisimov to get us a point and then nice to get the extra one in OT."
The game vs. Buffalo began a four-game homestand that continues with rare back-to-backs at the United Center as the Hawks take on Carolina on Friday.
After that, Nashville comes to town Sunday and Detroit is here Tuesday.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: The Hurricanes have lost three of four, with their only victory coming against the Blackhawks on Dec. 30. Carolina's last loss -- 3-1 to New Jersey -- ended an 11-game home points streak (10-0-1). The Hurricanes lost despite allowing just 17 shots on goal. ... Former Blackhawks forward Teuvo Teravainen is on a five-game point streak for Carolina, with 1 assist in his last four games. ... Watch for Scott Darling to start in net for the Blackhawks.
Next: Nashville Predators, 6 p.m. Sunday
-- John Dietz