10 observations: Patrick Kane's hat trick propels Blackhawks past Maple Leafs

10 observations: Kane's hat trick propels Hawks past Leafs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 at the United Center on Sunday in a thriller.

Here are 10 observations from the win:

1. The Blackhawks haven't lost to the Maple Leafs in regulation at home since Feb. 12, 2002, improving to 9-0-3 over that stretch. In that game, Toronto won 3-1 and Mark Bell scored the only goal for Chicago, with Jocelyn Thibault making 25 saves in the loss. Tie Domi scored the third goal and Ed Belfour made 35 saves in the win for Toronto. That's how long it's been.

2. Patrick Kane put on an absolute show in what could be one of his final games with the Blackhawks at the United Center. He recorded a hat trick before the third period started for his fifth goal in two games and added an assist on Max Demi's empty netter. He had only nine goals in his previous 50 games and was on a four-game point drought before his two-goal night in Ottawa. He told ESPN's Emily Kaplan during the first intermission that "it's easy, as a hockey player, to lose confidence and get down on yourself, I think you just remember you're a good player and capitalize on your chances." Even the great ones can struggle with confidence when they're not producing. Kane quickly got it back.

3. Cole Guttman picked a great time to score his first career NHL goal. He scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal with 8:18 left in regulation, about four minutes after the Maple Leafs tied things up at 3-3. The crowd absolutely erupted when he scored.

4. Jaxson Stauber made some big-time saves when the Blackhawks needed it the most. He stopped 32 of 35 shots for a save percentage of .914, and improved to 4-1-0 in his NHL career. He also recorded his first career NHL point with an assist on Domi's empty netter.

5. Domi was in a four-game point drought before Wednesday's game in Toronto. He recorded three assists against the Maple Leafs in this game and scored the empty netter, giving him one goal and six assists in his last three games. Perfect timing, with the trade deadline around the corner.

6. The Blackhawks had seven giveaways in the first period and 11 total. For context, they rank 26th in giveaways per 60 minutes at 9.1. They didn't manage the puck very well in the first period but got better as the game went on.

7. The attendance for this game was 20,979, which was the second-highest total of the season. The only other game that topped it was Marian Hossa's number retirement night. It was packed at puck drop.

8. Before the game, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews provided an update on his health by releasing a statement through the team. He said the reason he's been out since Jan. 28 is because he's "still dealing with the symptoms of Long COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome." He is not expected to be traded ahead of the March 3 deadline.

9. The Maple Leafs made a blockbuster trade late Friday night by acquiring former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly from St. Louis, along with bottom-six forward Noel Acciari. If Kane was expected to have the Maple Leafs on his short list, you can probably cross them off.

10. The Maple Leafs were my preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup. I'm sticking with it, even though their potential path is brutal. If they can just get out of the first round, I believe it would free them up mentally and it could serve as a springboard for a potential deep run. The addition of O'Reilly just might be the piece to get them over the hump.

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