RECAP: Kane buries OT winner in return on Chelios jersey retirement night


Jersey retirement ceremonies and a legendary player returning do not happen often. When both occur on the same night, that is a truly special, and perhaps historic, night. On Sunday night at the United Center, prior to hosting their Original Six brethren, the Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks honored their former face of the franchise and Chicago native Chris Chelios by raising his No. 7 sweater to the rafters.

The ceremony, hosted by the voice of the Blackhawks for 39 years and Hockey Hall of Famer, Pat Foley, featured the return of several of Chelios’ former teammates, including Brian Noonan, Reid Simpson, Keith Carney, Gary Suter, Denis Savard, Tony Amonte, Eddie Belfour and Jeremy Roenick. Also in attendance were two of the greatest ever to play in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, as well as five-time NBA champion, including three straight with the Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman.

As for the other major milestone of the night, the Blackhawks welcomed back future Hall of Famer and three-time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Kane to the United Center for the first time since he was dealt to the New York Rangers last spring. On Sunday night, Kane arrived wearing a Red Wings sweater after signing with the team in late November after recovering from off-season hip surgery. Kane entered the game with 11 goals and 26 points in 26 games for Detroit. In net, the Hawks started Petr Mrazek, a former Red Wings draft pick, who faced Detroit’s James Reimer.

First period

Seven minutes into a scoreless game, the Hawks played a video tribute to Kane. With former teammates Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook watching from a suite, Kane received a lengthy standing ovation from the sold-out crowd that went so long, he took a second curtain call followed by a third.

With 40.7 seconds left in the first, Robby Fabbri gained the zone and fed Christian Fischer in the slot, who found Daniel Sprong in the right circle and he fired the puck while falling to the ice and past Mrazek to give Detroit a 1–0 lead. Sprong’s 16th of the season would be the lone goal of a fast-paced first period.

Second period

In the second period, MacKenzie Entwistle tied it at 1–1. Kevin Korchinski sent an outlet pass to Reese Johnson, who fired a wrist shot that was stopped by Reimer. Johnson gobbled his own rebound behind the net and tried to bank it off Reimer, but it trickled into the slot and Entwistle fired it in to the open net for his third of the season at 3:29.

The Blackhawks took a 2–1 lead at the 17:52 mark on the power play on Nick Foligno’s 14th of the season. Bedard fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle and the puck hit Foligno on the way in and went off Reimer and trickled into the net. The Hawks took the one-goal lead into the locker room after 40 minutes.

Third period

With 4:16 left in the third, former Blackhawk winger Alex DeBrincat banked in his 22nd goal of the season to tie the game at 2–2. “The Cat” retrieved the puck on the goal line and fired the puck toward the net and it found its way through between the post and Mrazek’s left leg. Kane also picked up on an assist on DeBrincat’a tally. Sixty minutes were not enough, so the two teams headed to overtime.

In the extra session, in a scene Blackhawks fans have witnessed several times, Kane was sprung loose alone and scored high glove side on Mrazek to win the game for the Red Wings. For Kane, it was his 12th of the season and a fitting way to cap an emotional return to Chicago.


Sometimes the story just writes itself. On a night that began with one of the greatest Blackhawks ever having his number retired to the rafters of the United Center, another Hawks legend, and one who will also have his number retired some day, ended the game just like he did so many times during his historic career in the Windy City. The Hawks played a solid defensive game, but a bad late goal given up by Mrazek and then getting caught deep in the offensive zone in overtime cost them the game.

The Blackhawks will be off until Thursday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche at 8 p.m. CST for a nationally televised game on ESPN with the radio call on WGN 720.

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