Patrick Kane knows what makes him great. Those around him know, too. He’s a guy you want with the puck because of the magical things he can do with it, be it his own goals or setting up others.
In the last two games against the Los Angles Kings, the Chicago Blackhawks forward was doing that. He was back to being his playmaking, puck-posessing self, and the offense followed. And if you’re going to find your offensive touch again, doing it right as the Stanley Cup Final begins is pretty good timing.
Kane had four goals in his last two games, including that hat trick in the Western Conference Final clincher, getting his touch back at just the right time. But if he wants it to continue against Boston, he has to keep doing what he did against L.A.
“I'm a player that wants the puck and I'm a better player when I have it,” Kane said. “I think whether it was teammates, coaches, coaches from the past, my parents, just saying that, you’ve got to want the puck. That's what I tried to do in the last two games. It felt like I had more success when I did that.”
Indeed, he did. And his work was the Blackhawks’ gain.
“For sure, it’s a good thing,” Michael Frolik said of Kane scoring again. “I know he maybe doesn’t have the numbers in the first few games but he still played great. Hockey’s like that sometimes; you can play well and the points aren’t there. But he’s an unbelievable player, a skilled player. He came through in the last game and I’m sure his confidence is pretty high now. Hopefully he can get going in the finals.”
Coach Joel Quenneville was adamant in saying the Blackhawks “needed more” from Kane heading into Game 4 against the Kings. The right wing responded in as good a way as he could, prompting Quenneville to say “that was more than more” after Kane’s hat trick on Saturday night.
Yes, the games are getting bigger, and Kane has a propensity for performing accordingly.
“That’s the player he is: he steps up in big games, just like the year they won it,” Nick Leddy said. “He’s an unbelievable player and I’m amazed to see what he does every game. When he’s at his best, our team is at its best.”
Kane looked more like himself at the end of the Western Conference Final. He’s got another challenge ahead of him, with the bigger and more bruising – oh, and healthier – bodies the Bruins will throw at him. It starts with his puck possession game; if that’s in check, the rest, including production, usually follows.
“I’ll try to have that same mindset going into the finals here: just try to get the puck and make plays, not so much worry about scoring or getting an assist or points, just try to get it and make plays,” he said. “That should take care of itself.”