Patrick Kane sparks Blackhawks' power play with 'one of the best shots we've seen all year'

Patrick Kane sparks Blackhawks' power play with 'one of the best shots we've seen all year'

This Patrick Kane guy is pretty good.

Kane had another demonstration of his Hall of Fame level skill with a sick shot to give the Blackhawks a lead that would stick against the Bruins on Sunday. Kane’s power play goal with less than four minutes remaining impressed coach Joel Quenneville.

“It’s one of the best shots we’ve seen all year,” Quenneville said.

The goal came after Zdeno Chara, who had tied the game earlier in the third period, took a double-minor for high sticking. Brandon Saad was bleeding as a result of the play and went to the locker room immediately. After the game, Quenneville said he thinks Saad will be fine.

The double-minor came with less than four minutes left in the game, which meant that as long as the Blackhawks didn’t commit a penalty, they would either take the lead or have a man advantage into overtime. When Kane scored 18 seconds into the power play, it was best-case scenario.

Just seconds after Chara left the box, Brent Seabrook doubled the lead and put the game away. For a power play that has struggled for much of the season, the two goals were a positive sign and gave the team a win.

“I thought the power play moved it around pretty good tonight,” Kane said. “We had some chances, we had some good looks. It was nice to get a couple on it, too.”

Jonathan Toews was big on the power play and assisted on all three Blackhawks goals.

“Our power play all year has been quiet,” Quenneville said. “The timing of scoring big goals all year has been… we’ve been missing some big opportunities. That was like a perfect shot and a perfect timing. I don’t care who it is, but it was a nice shot and a timely goal as well.”

The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line


The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line

Jonathan Toews' offense usually comes in spurts. We're seeing it again right now.

But it's no coincidence his numbers have spiked since Patrick Kane joined him on the top line.

After recording another two points in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Blackhawks captain has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games; he had 11 points in his previous 23 games total.

Toews also reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th straight season, joining Kane and Alex Ovechkin as the only three active players to accomplish that feat to open their NHL careers.

Kane has seen his offensive production pick up, too. He has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in his past 13 games after going five straight without one, which was his longest point drought of the season.

When the two of them are on the ice together at even strength, they control 57.9 percent of the shot attempts. It hasn't quite translated on the scoresheet (14 goals for and 17 goals against) maybe the way it should, but they are certainly spending far more time in the offensive zone than the defensive end and are generating a high volume of shots.

So yes, reuniting the dynamic duo has worked stats-wise.

But it comes at a cost:

— Vinnie Hinostroza and Nick Schmaltz haven't scored in six straight contests.

— Alex DeBrincat's season-long goal drought is up to 13 games.

— Artem Anisimov's last even-strength goal came nine games ago.

When you put Kane and Toews together, you risk losing some balance across the lineup and that's why Joel Quenneville has always been reluctant to go to that nuclear option. He prefers when opposing teams are forced to play 'Pick Your Poison.'

Ideally, you'd like to spread out the scoring, but one thing is for certain: The Blackhawks are better when Kane and Toews are each producing offensively, whether they're apart or together. 

When the wins start to dry up though — and they have — that's normally when it's time to try something different.

Perhaps more importantly, the last thing you want are those scoring droughts mentioned above to stretch even further and get inside the younger skaters' heads, then carrying it with them into the offseason.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Has the championship window closed?


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Has the championship window closed?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Jonathan Toews sits down with Pat Boyle for a 1-on-1 interview. Toews weighs in on his season with Brandon Saad, whether he expects major changes this offseason and has the championship window closed?

Also, Adam Burish joins the podcast and plays the game: “Building block, not sure, or no thanks.” Burish runs down the Blackhawks forwards and predicts whether or not they have a future with the team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: