"(It wasn't) as intense as I did a couple of years ago but I went back there and kind of retraced it," Kane said as the team prepared for Thursday night's game against the Flyers, the Hawks' first appearance in Philadelphia since that magical June 9, 2010 night. "(Teammate Bryan) Bickell pretended he was the defenseman and I just kind of shot it in the same place where the puck got lost there. It was a fun moment. It went in today. Thank God I made that shot."
The puck went in the net today, and it did in 2010. But lately for Kane, the pucks haven't been going in the net with nearly the same frequency. He still has 36 points in 39 games so far this season, but lately his production has seriously tailed off. Kane has just four points in his last 10 games, of which just one is a goal. Two goals in his last 20 games.
He'll obviously bounce back, but we don't mind that it comes at the one time the Flyers play the Blackhawks this season. They've moved Kane off of their top power play unit, and that power play is probably the reason they lost Monday's game against Edmonton. Oh, and Dan Carcillo's stupidity. That too.
Anyway, the Blackhawks obviously have plenty of weapons, even without Kane scoring. We don't need to list them, because the Patrick Sharp Philadelphia Phantoms bobblehead on my desk is a constant reminder. Keeping the recently-awful Chicago power play down seems like a key to beating them tonight, but of course, the Flyers have to score goals too. Without Jaromir Jagr in the lineup, will the effectiveness of the top line take a hit?
Claude Giroux runs the top line, obviously. It's not as if he needs Jagr to score goals, but that doesn't mean it doesn't help a helluva whole lot.
In Jags place tonight will be Matt Read, according to NHL.com, who has (as we could have expected) tailed off in terms of his production as the season has carried on. Read's still playing fine hockey, but he has two goals in the last month. He could be hitting the rookie wall. That's why it's great to throw him on the top line, in hopes that maybe he can get some swagger back and get on the board a few times. It's an opportunity for him, and let's hope he takes it starting tonight.
With Jagr out, Zac Rinaldo will find his way back onto the ice. The rest of the lineup, as we'd expect it to sort out:
Read - Giroux - Hartnell
Talbot - Briere - Voracek
van Riemsdyk - Schenn - Simmonds
Rinaldo - Juicy - Scrabble
Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Bourdon
Meszaros - Lilja
Jody Shelley and Matt Walker art thou healthy scratches. Here's what we're thinking the Blackhawks lineup will look like this evening. I miss Patrick Sharp, if the bobblehead thing didn't give it away before.
Sharp - Toews - Shaw
Stalberg - Kane - Hossa
Bickell - Bolland - Frolik
Brunette - Mayers - Hayes
Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Leddy
Scott - Lepisto
In goal, it'll be Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Ray Emery. Yes, that Ray Emery.
Game thread will be up at 6 p.m. You can catch the action tonight on CSN Philly, CSN Chicago and 94WIP. Flyers beat the Hawks 4-1 in their barn last year... let's not let them return the favor this time around.