After an overtime win in Game 4 to tie the series 2-2, the Blackhawks went to Vancouver and stole Game 5 to put them one win away from their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1995. In a high scoring, back and forth Game 6, the Blackhawks’ budding young star took center stage with his first (of many) big playoff moment.
Kane’s first goal tied the game 1-1 late in the first, his second goal was a soft wrap around that eluded Luongo and tied the game 5-5 in the third. Finally, his third goal was a beauty that gave the Blackhawks a 7-5 lead with three minutes left to ice the game, and the series. Kane’s hat trick lifted the Hawks in a game where they needed to put a big number on the scoreboard. In a great comeback effort, the Hawks rattled Roberto Luongo for the first time, setting the tone for playoff matchups in the years to come. The game was Kaner’s playoffs coming out party, his first big moment in the spotlight as a superstar. The fourth seeded Blackhawks were now on their way to the West Finals to face arch rival Detroit.
This Game 6 win was the breakthrough win that the Renaissance Era Blackhawks were looking for. It was the first indication that hockey in Chicago was officially back, and would be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Kaner’s heroics in the moment were considered an unbelievable sequence by one of the league’s best players. Now three Cups later, those same heroics are commonplace for Hawks fans. Kaner came in clutch for the first time with his first ever playoff hat trick.
#18 coming tomorrow…