‘The man, the myth, the mullet’: Kane delivers in the clutch, once again


Chicago already has a Captain Serious.

Maybe it’s time for a Captain Clutch.

On Saturday night at the United Center, Patrick Kane staked claim to that moniker, scoring two goals — including the game-winner — to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 win over Boston in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s not a coincidence that Kaner makes the big goals,” ‘Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “He wants the puck when it comes down to the wire.”

Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville tried to explain what makes Kane so special.

“Kaner’s got high-end skill,” Quenneville said following the game. “He’s dangerous with the puck. His anticipation without it offensively is high-end.”

High-end skill is one thing, sure, but if Kane has shown a singular defining characteristic over this playoff run and playoff runs prior, it’s a flair for the dramatic

In 2009, he delivered his first major knockout blow — a hat-trick in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against Vancouver, eliminating the Canucks from playoff contention.

In 2010, he scored the Cup-winning goal against Philadelphia, finishing Game 6 in overtime to give Chicago its first championship in 49 years.

This year, he KOed the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals with (another) three-goal epic, and outdid his stellar ’09 hat trick by scoring the third and final goal in double overtime.

Then, there were tonight’s heroics.

Both of Kane’s tallies displayed the type of high-end skill Quenneville alluded to, including the game-winner — No. 88 roofed home a backhand that knocked Tuukka Rask’s water bottle off the top of the net.

“Guys [like Kane] have kind of an innate skill in scoring, being a top player,” Quenneville explained. “They anticipate like the rest of us would like to.”

Kane now has six goals in his last seven games, and leads the Blackhawks in scoring in the Stanley Cup Final with three goals, two assists and five points.

Yet in the end, it won’t be the number of goals that defines Kane.

It’ll be the way that he scored them, the times that he scored them, and the legacy he’s building as one of the NHL’s most productive players in pressure situations.

“The difference in this game,” NBC’s Liam McHugh said during tonight’s broadcast, “is the man, the myth, the mullet.”

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (NHL.com)

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.