Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Breaking down Patrick Kane's postseason success

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Blackhawks: Breaking down Patrick Kane's postseason success

Patrick Kane was playing his way into the MVP conversation before his regular season was cut short due to a broken collarbone, but he's somehow taken his game to an even higher level in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After finishing the 2014-15 campaign with 64 points in 61 games, the Blackhawks forward has erupted for a team-leading 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 10 postseason games, which currently ranks second — Anaheim's Corey Perry has 14 points in seven games — among playoff leaders.

[MORE: Closing it out: Five things from Blackhawks-Wild]

Kane has been held off the stat sheet just once since returning to the lineup, carrying a five-game goal streak and seven-game point streak into the Western Conference Final.

But his recent playoff success extends beyond this year.

In his last 14 playoff games dating back to 2013-14, Kane has compiled nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, an average of 1.64 points per game. 

To put that into perspective: Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby led the NHL in points per game this year with 1.09.

In those 14 games, Kane has registered at least a point in all but one, and finished with multi-point games in half of them. The Blackhawks are 10-4 in that span, with Kane having scored the game-winner in three of those victories, two of which came in Games 2 and 3 against the Minnesota Wild.

[NBC SHOP: Get a Patrick Kane jersey here]

The numbers speak for themselves, but what's more impressive than anything: Kane hasn't skipped a beat, performing at an astonishing pace after coming back five weeks early from a collarbone injury that initially projected him to be sidelined until late May.

Not only do the Blackhawks have a healthy Kane heading into the Conference Final, but they also have one who, as coach Joel Quenneville put it, has "a hot stick."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: