The Chicago Blackhawks made a statement with their 4-0 drubbing of the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Wednesday night as Corey Crawford and the defending Stanley Cup champions had little trouble dispatching the team with the best record in the NHL.
However, it wasn’t all great for the Hawks as they lost leading scorer Patrick Kane at the 7:56 of the second period, as he headed to the dressing room with a lower-leg injury following a nasty collision with Brenden Morrow.
Following the game, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said Kane will miss about three weeks.
#Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Patrick Kane will be out three weeks. Not sure if winger will return before end of regular season.
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 20, 2014
The injury will likely keep him out for the remainder of the regular season as the Blackhawks final game is April 12, or three weeks and three days from the time of the injury. It would be short-sighted to rush Kane back in advance of the playoffs for two regular season games.
The goal of this team is to win their third Cup in five years, not to win the Central division or even have home-ice advantage in the first round, so if it means keeping Kane off the ice at the risk of losing those, but it means he’s 100 percent for the postseason, then that’s the route the team likely will go.
Chicago’s win put them six points behind the Blues for the top spot in the Western Conference and into fourth place overall. It was a playoff atmosphere at the United Center and a potential playoff preview, but the mood after the game was noticeably down after a win of this caliber.
Kane has a team-leading 29 goals and 68 points this season and will be tough to replace in the lineup, but one player who may have a hand in that will be former first round pick Teuvo Teravainen who is expected to join the team in the coming days.
The dynamic Teravainen is a player with a penchant for making plays like Kane, but make no mistake, he won’t be able to fill the skates of Kane, so the rest of the team will have to raise their level of play for the next three weeks, and perhaps longer if they hope to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads later this year.