EDMONTON, Alberta – With one trophy down, the Blackhawks now will shift their focus to grabbing the ultimate prize.
The Hawks clinched the Presidents’ Trophy – awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL during the regular season – when they defeated the Oilers 4-1 on Wednesday night at Rexall Place.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp also scored, and Corey Crawford was strong in goal after replacing Ray Emery, who left during the opening period with a lower-body injury.
The Hawks last won the Presidents’ Trophy in 1991-92.
Michal Handzus added two assists, and the Hawks made a loser of Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk. Nail Yakupov had the goal for Edmonton.
Drew LeBlanc made his NHL debut for the Hawks, starting the game as the center on a line with Kane and Sharp.
“Not too bad of guys to have on your wings for the first game,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc was signed as a free agent April 12, the same day he captured the Hobey Baker Award as the most outstanding player in NCAA hockey. That came on the heels of leading St. Cloud State of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to its first Frozen Four appearance following a season during which the 23-year-old had 13 goals and 37 assists in 42 games.
“It’s a great experience for me,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in here on a team like this. It’s a special moment.”
Meanwhile, Sharp was looking to settle in himself after missing the previous five games — and 19 of 21 — with a left shoulder injury.
“I played a couple of games recently but it’s been a long time since I’ve been kind of back in the swing of things,” Sharp said.