By Adam Hoge-
LOS ANGELES (CBS) While the Blackhawks are just two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final, they’ve in large part made it to where they are without Patrick Kane.
Kane hasn’t scored a goal since Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Red Wings. In fact, the Blackhawks have essentially played a full seven-game series without a goal from one of their best offensive weapons.
“It’s never fun going through the slumps,” Kane said at the Staples Center Wednesday. “As an offensive player, you always want to score and be there for the team. Especially when that’s what you’re counted on to do. It’s a little frustrating.”
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It’s one thing to fail to find the back of the net (Kane has two goals and eight assists in 15 playoff games), but it’s another to rarely even have the puck. While the Blackhawks hold a 2-1 series lead against Los Angeles, the Kings have done a tremendous job of keeping the puck away from Kane, whose only point in the series was an assist in Game 2. Kane had just two shots in Game 1, three shots in Game 2 and only one shot in Tuesday night’s 3-1 Game 3 loss.
“I think when he has more speed in his game, he seems to have the puck a lot more,” head coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday. “When he’s playing his best hockey, he has the puck, he’s dangerous with it, being off the rush, in zone, coming out of our end. I just think when he has the puck, not too many players in the league can do what he can do.”
So how does Kane get the puck?
The winger said he needs to create more room for himself, which he can do by supporting the puck and using his linemates to his advantage. And once he does gain possession of the puck, he said he needs “will power” to go score.
“I just got to have the will to do it,” he said. “Stop thinking that maybe this is going to be the game or the next game is going to be the game. Just make sure my next opportunity is when it’s going to happen.”
Kane said there are other ways he can contribute to the team, but Quenneville admitted “we’re looking for a little more” in that area as well.
Kane said he watched videos of past playoff goals with his father to help the situation.
“It’s not all the sudden that I’m a bad player,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen like that. I had a good regular season and I’m still a good player in this league and can make plays.”
Kane is still third on the team in points during the playoffs with 10 and it has helped that players like Bryan Bickell (seven goals) and Andrew Shaw (four goals) have stepped up their production.
Of course, getting more help from Kane would make the rest of the Blackhawks’ run towards the Stanley Cup a lot easier.
“I still have had one or two good chances in each game to score,” Kane said. “So you can look at that and say the chances, there could more obviously, but when you’re getting one or two you got to bear down and make sure those count.”
Against Jonathan Quick and the Kings, they need to count.
For more Blackhawks coverage throughout the playoffs, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHoge.