LOS ANGELES – Patrick Kane watched some of his previous playoff goals with his dad recently, a video log that likely had some highlights on it.
“It’s cool to watch those things,” Kane said. “It gives you a little confidence.”
It’s a reel that Kane would love to add to this postseason but so far, he’s struggled to do so. The Blackhawks forward hasn’t scored a goal in his last seven postseason games, and he has just two assists in that same time frame. Kane said he’s probably practiced more patience in waiting for the puck; in this sense, the patience has to stop.
“I think we all want the puck, we all want to make plays. But sometimes we get guilty of waiting for it and standing around,” he said. “That’s where I want to improve: be patient, but when the opportunity’s there, go and get it.”
Kane’s been quiet in the goal category throughout this postseason – he has just two in 15 games. He was nevertheless gathering points at a good rate in the first round, when he notched five assists in the Blackhawks’ first three games against Minnesota. Around that time, Kane said it was a matter of instincts: knowing when to make a pass or when to take the shot. His passes were certainly on the mark at that point – Patrick Sharp finished several of them.
Viktor Stalberg said it’s important your mind doesn’t work overtime when you’re trying to bust a slump.
“It’s not over-thinking things; that’s the hard part,” he said. “You think about the missed opportunities, or whether you should’ve shot instead of passed or passed instead of shot. Sometimes you lose a little confidence when you don’t score. But Kane’s used to scoring, and I’m not worried about him getting out of it. You just simplify, try to get as many pucks toward the net as possible. Usually it’s a bounce off a shin pad or a good bounce on net that ends it. So keep sticking with it.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said that, even outside of scoring, the Blackhawks are “looking for more” from Kane.
“It seems like the top guys, finding a way to score or be productive has been challenging. But I think if you’re contributing in other ways, the team game you can hang your hat on, it’s something you look for. That’s what we’re looking for and hopefully there’s some production along with it,” he said. “We should all be thinking like that: play a strong team game, play it hard, and hopefully good things come because of how we play.”
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The Blackhawks have preached that all-around game from everyone this season, whether it’s a forward or defenseman. Support each other, help each other, and it will benefit your game. When Kane was doing it all, he was effective. He’s at his best when he’s skating and when he has more puck possession, something that’s not been there as much lately.
There’s no doubt Kane is one of the most gifted players in the game. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. As the Blackhawks try to keep going in this postseason, they need Kane to be very, very good again – and start adding to that postseason goal videotape again.
“I think the attitude now is to stop waiting around and go get it done, whether it’s on the forecheck, in the defensive zone or giving your guy on the puck support,” Kane said. “I think sometimes you wait for it to happen. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re a bad player. I can still make plays. I just have to have the confidence and the will to do it.”