CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 19: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks reaches for the puck against the Boston Bruins at the United Center on January 19, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks went into Buffalo on Sunday night and knocked off the Sabres by a 2-1 score, but more importantly than that, Patrick Kane played well in his first game back in his hometown in four years, scoring an early goal in the game that set the tone for the Hawks.
Kane’s exploits in Buffalo over the years (on the ice and off) have made plenty of waves, but specifically talking about his hockey skills there, he has always brought his A-game for the hometown crowd. In three games there, Kane has a 2-1-0 record but has scored in each of the contests, and always seems to revel in playing on that stage.
With his play in Buffalo, it got us to thinking: how do the other Blackhawks fare in their respective hometowns? Using Google Maps as a guide (if a player was born within an hour of an NHL city, we counted it), we set out to find the answer.
Bryan Bickell (Bowmanville, Ontario) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Bickell was injured when the Hawks were steamrolled in Toronto earlier this season, but he did get to play in one game against his hometown Leafs back in 2011. In that game he picked up a goal, and the Blackhawks won.
Brandon Bollig (St. Charles, Missouri) vs. St. Louis Blues
Bollig hasn’t exactly lit up the scoresheet against the Blues in his career, failing to notch a point in six games against them. The Hawks have a 2-3-1 record against St. Louis in those games, and Bollig has a meager four shots on goal to his credit.
Corey Crawford (Montreal, Quebec) vs. Montreal Canadiens
Crawford has played in two games in his hometown of Montreal during his career, and came out as an overtime loser on both occasions. He did save 69 of the 73 shots he faced, however, and only allowed two goals in each of the games, so in fairness to him, he didn't much offensive support.
Duncan Keith (Winnipeg, Manitoba) vs. Winnipeg Jets
One of two Blackhawks who hail from Winnipeg, Keith got his first opportunities to play at MTS Centre this season and made the most of them. He picked up two assists in two games, and the Blackhawks were victorious in both contests.
Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) vs. Minnesota Wild
One of only two Blackhawks to ever play in a game against his hometown team, Leddy has had a good amount of success against the Wild. In five career games, Leddy has only four shots on goal, but the Hawks are 3-0-2 in those games. He also picked up an assist and seven shots on goal in the Blackhawks’ 2013 first round series win against their new Central Division rivals.
Brent Seabrook (Richmond, British Columbia) vs. Vancouver Canucks
Suprisingly, Seabrook is the Hawk with the most career experience against the team he grew up watching, playing in 15 regular season games and three playoff series against the Canucks. Seabrook has two goals and six assists in playoff action against Vancouver, and has a goal and four assists as his Hawks have gone 5-7-3 in Vancouver during his career.
Ben Smith (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Smith got to make his first career appearance against his hometown Hurricanes this season, picking up one shot on goal as the Blackhawks triumphed in an October matchup.
Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg, Manitoba) vs. Winnipeg Jets
Toews had a great second career game against the Jets earlier this year, scoring a goal and adding three assists as the Hawks rolled. He was held off the scoresheet in his first trip to his hometown, but the Hawks won anyway.
For those of you that are curious, one more Blackhawk will get the chance to make his debut against his hometown team this year, as Brandon Saad will get a crack at playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Steel City on March 30th.