Blackhawks' Kane revisits scene of crime

Posted: March 20, 2014

PATRICK KANE couldn't help himself.

He had been back to the Wells Fargo Center once - more than 2 years ago - since the shot that changed his life on June 9, 2010, back when the place was still called the Wachovia Center.

"I know it was a long time ago," Kane said. "But it feels like it was just yesterday."

Late on that warm summer night, Kane snuck a shot through Michael Leighton's pads that stretched Philadelphia's Stanley Cup drought to 35 years just 4:06 into overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

In disbelief, most fans remained in their seats - waiting to see whether Kane's shot actually hit the back of the net. The only inkling it was all over was Kane's convincing celebration.

Kane, then 21, threw off his gloves in ecstasy and skated to the other end of the ice.

Yesterday, with time to kill during the Blackhawks' morning skate in an otherwise empty arena, Kane found the spot where he believed his shot originated and mimicked it all again. With teammates giggling, Kane chucked his gloves and waved his hands in the air.

"We were talking about it on the bench, where the shot was actually at," Kane said. "It's kind of cool to be back and remember what happened. Any time you're going to come back here, you're going to have memories of that night for sure.

"A lot of jokes, a lot of memories, a lot of things come into your mind when you come back in this arena and even skate on the ice for a pregame skate."

Celebrating a long-ago goal in a morning skate? Such is life these days for the Blackhawks, with their names etched on yet another Stanley Cup last season and this year's playoff position already locked up. They are playing out the string of the regular season, looking for some reason to be motivated before the start of the "real" NHL season.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are fighting for their lives nightly. They have won just two playoff series since that magical 2010 run and missed the playoffs entirely last summer when Kane was celebrating again. Kane was lustily booed the first few times he touched the puck last night against the Flyers - as he left a scar in South Philadelphia that won't soon be forgotten.

Emery back

Quite a few heads turned just about an hour before Kane's whimsical morning skate, when Flyers coach Craig Berube announced that Ray Emery would start last night against his former team.

In his last start against Chicago, back on Dec. 11 at United Center, Emery allowed six goals in just over 40 minutes.

Plus, last night was Emery's first game in net since suffering a lower-body injury on Feb. 27 against San Jose. It was his first start since Feb. 8, just prior to the Olympic break.

"[Steve Mason] played a bunch of games in a row," Berube reasoned. "We're just coming off back-to-backs. We didn't have practice [Monday]. Ray's rested and he's ready to go."

Emery's start last night against the Blackhawks, with whom he earned a Cup ring last summer, began a lot like the last one ended. Chicago scored twice in the first 3:51, garnering a predictable chorus of boos early in an important matchup. Berube stuck with Emery even after a particularly weak goal from Duncan Keith in the slot that trickled through his five-hole.

Emery's teammates quickly responded, scoring twice while hitting two posts and outshooting the Blackhawks 12-2 in the remainder of the first period. Emery settled down to stop 23 of 25 shots in the Flyers' 3-2 overtime victory. He will be needed again down the stretch. Beginning tomorrow, the Flyers close with 14 games over the next 25 days.

"Those were two early goals we weren't expecting," Claude Giroux said. "We did a good job coming back. We knew that we just had to keep playing our game. We know we are playing one of the best teams in the league. But at the end of the day, it is up to us - and we want to be a good team, too."

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