Amazingly, Wednesday’s 4-0 win for Chicago over St. Louis was the first time all season the Blues lost in regulation time to a fellow Central Division team. Coupled with Colorado’s overtime loss to Winnipeg, the Blackhawks took sole possession of second place in the Central.
The win also marked a milestone in the career of coach Joel Quenneville, who has been rocketing up the top 10 all-time coaching wins list all season. Wednesday’s win was the 700th of his career, which is 82 behind Al Arbour and, well, still 544 behind the record holder, Scotty Bowman.
But more important to the Blackhawks and even Quenneville is that the game cost them a superstar off the roster.
In the second period, Patrick Kane was skating around the offensive zone and not involved in any kind of physical play. But as he was making a turn, St. Louis’ Brenden Morrow bounced off Sheldon Brookbank and fell to the ice and into Kane’s leg. The Blackhawks superstar and MVP candidate struggled to get back up and had to leave the game.
The Hawks have not often been without Kane in the lineup. Prior to this season, Kane had missed only 12 regular season games in his career and nine of them came in 2010-11. But the post-game news was not good for Blackhawks fans, who can now only cross their fingers and pray to the hockey gods.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs aren’t scheduled to start until April 16, so there is time for him to return if it stays a three-week window. But at this point, it’s not even clear what the injury is exactly: it’s still just listed as the famous lower-body injury. Leg, foot or ankle, yes, but to what degree?
Kane has 29 goals and 69 points in 69 games this season and was on pace for the second-best full-season point total in his career. In fact, he was one goal away from tying a career-high in that department.