Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane will return for the club's playoff opener against Nashville on Wednesday after an early recovery from a fractured collarbone.
Kane was hurt during a Feb. 24 game against Florida and had surgery the following day. He was expected to be sidelined for three months and not believed to be available unless the Blackhawks made a deep playoff run.
Instead, he was cleared to return to practice on Monday and will be on the ice for Game 1 of the first-round series Wednesday, exactly seven weeks after the procedure.
"Great to be back for the playoffs," Kane wrote Tuesday on Twitter. "Thank you to all the great fans for the many well wishes over the last seven weeks!"
Kane had 27 goals with 37 assists in 61 games and was tied for the NHL scoring lead with 64 points when he was injured. He was cross-checked in the lower back by Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic during the first period of the February game. Kane stumbled and fell awkwardly into the boards, with his left shoulder absorbing most of the impact.